I, like many, have never known a time when Queen Elizabeth 11 was not on the throne. This month we mark her Diamond Jubilee and I hope you will be joining in some of the celebrations planned in the villages that make up our Parish.
I have no doubt that amongst the readers there will be a variety of views on the institution of the monarchy, but whatever one's views on the institution, few I suspect will doubt that our Queen has diligently endeavoured to carry out the role assigned to her to the best of her ability.
Although you can refuse it, being monarch is not a role that you choose, but rather is one assigned to you and frankly, for all it supposed privilege and status, I am glad that it is not a role that was assigned to me - I expect you are too!
I admire the way our Queen has dedicated her life, through thick and thin and through many challenges, to the benefit of this country and the fulfilment of the obligations and responsibilities placed on her. We have much to be grateful to her for in sixty years of faithful service. Our Queen has been faithful to her calling.
The example of Jesus
Faithfulness to his calling was a key characteristic of Jesus. Ancient Israel had been called by God to be a light to the world, to draw the nations to the one true God, but ancient Israel was unfaithful as its prophets repeatedly warned.
By contrast, Jesus, aware from an early age of God's calling on his life, was faithful to his calling:.To quote from St Paul, 'Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross.' Jesus conformed himself to his heavenly Father's calling on his life, wherever that led, and it was this that set him apart from all those who had gone before him.
Immediately before the passage I have just quoted St Paul says this, "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus." We too are called by God to faithful service, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others." As we celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, her sixty years of faithful service to us, let us also consider whether we are being faithful to the calling God has placed on our lives.