The Archbishop of Canterbury chose the theme of dedication for his sermon celebrating the Queen’s diamond jubilee. It was entirely appropriate, recalling her own words from her birthday speech in 1947:
“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”Whatever you think of her, she has spent 65 years doing what she promised. It begs the question of why, and although the Archbishop spoke about the necessity of service, and the joy that can be found within it, he never got to the root of it.
Romans 12, one of Christianity’s great job descriptions, was read but its motivation and means were missed by most people there. Before Paul talks about service and leadership and humility and everything else, he reminds us of how those things are possible:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice...”By “God’s mercy” he means the news that God came and lived among us, died for us, and has been raised to eternal life to rescue us and make us right with God if we put our trust in Him. This is why the Queen has served, because Jesus served her. The Archbishop missed an opportunity to share that vital news, which would have explained both Christianity and the Queen. Thankfully, she did it herself last Christmas:
“Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves - from our recklessness or our greed. God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.”