Much has been said and written over the last two days in tribute to Prince Philip, who sadly died on Friday just a few weeks short of his hundredth birthday. There is little if anything of value that we can add to those tributes, many of which focussed on the years of unstinting service that he devoted to Queen and country, not only as he supported the Queen in her role, but before that during his years in the Navy.
Finding himself in a position where he had no constitutional role, the way that Prince Philip carved out a role for himself in leading initiatives such as the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and his environmental work with the World Wildlife Fund was remarkable, and often years ahead of its time. We give thanks for his vision and foresight in seeking to improve the lives of individuals from all backgrounds, and to improve the environment of the world that we call home.
So we acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of one who has played such a significant role in the life of this country, the wider world and indeed this town. With our friends in other churches across the country, we pray that the Queen will know the comfort of the King she serves, as she and the rest of their family mourn their loss.
We too serve her King, and Prince Philip’s example reminds us that our service is also a lifetime commitment. When we chose to follow Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we became part of God’s royal family, with our own royal duties to perform. The difference is that, whereas Prince Philip had no constitutional role and had to make it up as he went along, God clearly gives us a crucial role in his mission on earth. He calls his Church to continue the work that Jesus started. Our ‘constitution’ is the Bible, and our role is to tell people about Jesus in word and action, through our love for God and our love for others. It is not a commitment that we can pick up and lay down at will. A bit like Prince Philip’s lifetime of devotion and service as the husband of his Queen, ours is a lifetime of devotion and service to the King of kings, in our privileged position as the ‘Bride of Christ’. God calls to serve the communities where he places us, and equips us to do so by using the various gifts and abilities that he gives us. In so doing, we have the remarkable privilege of bringing a touch of God’s goodness, love and grace to the world around us.
The only question left for each of us right now is… how will I serve Him today?
With our love and prayers,
Matthew and Pauline