In a time of instability and change, the longevity of the reign of Queen Elizabeth has been a beacon of steadfast commitment. As we join with others around the world in celebration of her platinum jubilee as Queen of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth, we give thanks for the witness of her dedication to her calling as Queen. It was not a calling she independently chose. She inherited it, having first watched her father have it thrust upon him unexpectedly, then growing into the realization that it would one day be hers to fulfil. On her 21st birthday she announced to the Commonwealth, "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."
Over the past 70 years, England and the world have been radically transformed. Through it all, she remained tirelessly dedicated to her work and her family, persevering through personal and national crises, while at times facing harsh criticism. When looking for the source of her inner strength and fortitude, we see it is rooted in her faith. In her Christmas message for 2002, she said: "I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God…. I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel."
Today we offer prayers of thanksgiving, for her witness in faith and for her commitment as a servant of the people and of God through these 70 years. May God grant her continued strength and health in the vocation to which she has steadfastly dedicated her life.
Almighty God, whose kingdom is everlasting,
and power infinite: Have mercy upon the whole Church;
and so rule the heart of thy chosen servant ELIZABETH, our Queen
and Governor, that she, knowing whose minister she is,
may above all things seek thy honour and glory:
and that we and all her subjects, duly considering whose authority she hath,
may faithfully serve, honour, and humbly obey her,
in thee, and for thee, according to thy blessed Word and ordinance;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth,
ever one God, world without end. Amen. (BCP, pg 70)
Almighty God, fountain of all goodness, bless our Sovereign
Lady, Queen Elizabeth, and all who are in authority under her;
that they may order all things in wisdom and equity,
righteousness and peace, to the honour of your name, and the
good of your Church and people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (BAS, pg. 677)
The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada