The world has been saddened by Queen Elizabeth’s death. Millions will watch the queen’s funeral tomorrow. Elizabeth was queen for so long; she somehow became the world’s grandmother.
We all know her, but we also don’t know her at all. The queen didn’t give interviews. She never shared her opinions. Her royal poker face never revealed anything. Who was this woman? Yes, she liked horses and dogs. But beyond that, who was she?
Elizabeth was portrayed in the movie “The Queen” by Helen Mirren. She was played by three different actresses – Claire Foy, Olivia Coleman, and Imelda Staunton in the Netflix series “The Crown.” She was even played by Fred Armisen on Saturday Night Live. Did any of them capture Elizabeth’s true character? Who knows? After all the movies, biographies, and news coverage, Queen Elizabeth, who was known by all, goes to her grave unknown – which is what she wanted.
A monarch who never revealed anything to anyone was how Elizabeth reigned. But another Sovereign chose a different way. The Almighty, the Creator, the Great I Am, the One who we call God chose to reveal everything.
Instead of remaining unknowable, God became relatable. Literally. God left heaven’s throne to enter Bethlehem’s barn to join the family. Divinity and humanity became one. Forsaking power, position, and privilege, Emmanuel – God with Us – was born to into obscurity and poverty. Jesus became one of us – not as a shining ruler, but as a Suffering Servant. When he preached, Jesus didn’t hang out in royal courts and capital cities to reach the high and mighty, he taught nobodies in out-of-the-way places.
When he healed, he healed the “wrong” people – touching lepers and bleeding women. He didn’t keep company with celebrities and powerbrokers, but with crooks and prostitutes. Jesus’ way, truth, and life so disrupted our corrupt, blood-soaked status quo that we killed him. We crucified him between two common criminals. We buried him in a borrowed tomb. News of his Easter rising wasn’t declared by imperial decree. It was announced by peasant women.
God could have remained untouched in heaven. God could have revealed nothing, but instead revealed everything. God entered history and become one of us in order to love and save us all.
“If you know me,” Jesus tells us; “then you know the Almighty. No one has ever caught even a glimpse of God, but you know me in full. So you know exactly what God is like. You know who God is; what God values; what God does; and how God wants this world to be.”
You do know God — because you know Christ.
You’ve heard Jesus speak through Scripture. Despite bad preaching, Jesus still speaks through boring sermons. You’ve been washed by Jesus in Baptism. You’ve been fed by Jesus in Communion. You speak with Jesus through prayer. You are one with Jesus in love. You are one with God in love. Because God is love, and God and Jesus are one.
That’s good to know – and it’s better to live. Amidst the unpredictable, tragic sweep of history and the ups and downs each of us face, you know the path that will give you your best life. Just follow Jesus. Go where he goes and do what he does.
Forgive seventy times seven. Give to everyone who begs and asks you for help. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Love everyone just as Christ has loved you.
Who knew that royalty could be so common? So ordinary? So every day. Forgive that person in your life, who doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. Do that – and you’re on the royal way. You’re a commoner no more – for you are part of God’s reign on this earth.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Live life that way – and wherever you are, you are in heaven. You are bringing earth and heaven together through your love. You are living the answer to the prayer: Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Do that and you will be following the King. And I’m not talking about Charles.