CHRISTIAN COMMENT: A jubilee postscript

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There’s only been one story this past weekend.

The celebrations have been extraordinary.

Apart from the weather on occasions – Sunday afternoon in London – there was barely a hitch.

Oh yes, Prince Philip being taken ill.

That was a shame but even that didn’t disrupt the onward flow of celebration.

Quite honestly, I had doubted whether everything would go as well as it did.

So what more can be said after the millions of words and thousand of images that we’ve all collected from these diamond days?

Just one or two little things, maybe, all centring on that small, luminous woman the nation has come to appreciate so much.

Bishop Chartres, who knows the Queen quite well, I understand, spoke with great warmth and sincerity when he prayed in St Paul’s: “...we give you (God) thanks and praise that you have blessed this Nation, the Realms and Territories with Elizabeth, our beloved and glorious Queen...grant her your gifts...as she continues in faithful obedience to you, her Lord and God and in devoted service to her lands and peoples.”

And that’s the abiding image for me.

Here was this small lady, putting in hours of standing, listening, smiling, walking, waving – all at the age of 86 – without anyone asking whether she was enjoying it , whether she’d like to stop now, go and do something else.

As Elton John suggested, Prince Philip was maybe taking the easier option in contracting an infection when faced with hours of pop music in which he takes no pleasure.

But for the Queen, she just does it.

The people want to see her, to cheer her, to appreciate her – and she turns up.

Even when she came to say “Thank you” yesterday evening, her main words expressed pleasure that so many of her people were enjoying themselves.

Not that she was or was not overwhelmed by their appreciation of her but that she was glad to have been the reason for them having a good time.

Compare most of the pop divas – male and female – who paraded, spoke and sang outside Buckingham Palace. “Look at me” was the watchword of most.

Not all, to be fair: Gary Barlow – the guy behind it all – and even Paul McCartney gave a sense that this was bigger than they were but from most this was limelight to swim in.

What was the Queen’s response to all this?

“It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbours and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere.”

To have at the centre of our national life someone who is happy to serve and to see others prospering is a wonderful blessing for the UK.

As the Queen has testified on several occasions, at the centre of her life is Jesus Christ.

Nigel O’Dwyer