To mark the occasion, of the Queen’s 90th birthday, Portswood Church will also be holding a ‘Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration Community Day’ from 10am until 2pm on Saturday, 11th. June. It’s open to all, and free, so come along and join us on Portswood Road, opposite Waitrose, Southampton.
On Friday, June 10th. the birthday celebrations will start in London with a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral. It will also be the Duke of Edinburgh’s 95th birthday. On the Queen’s official birthday, Saturday, June 11th, the ‘Trooping of the Colour’, will take place on Horse Guards’ Parade. Queen Elizabeth will travel by carriage from Buckingham Palace to inspect her personal troops in a televised ceremony at 10am. The Royal family will then appear on the balcony of the palace to watch a fly-past at 1pm. The Mall outside Buckingham Palace will be turned into a huge street party with a picnic and street performances for 10,000 guests. Many around the country are planning to get together to hold their own street parties to celebrate the Queen's birthday.
At Portswood Church Community Day, we will be distributing a book, published by The Bible Society, HOPE and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, entitled ‘The Servant Queen and the King she serves’. This 63-page book is intended as a tribute for her Majesty’s 90th birthday and contains a forward by the Queen. It is clearly-written and well-illustrated with many photographs. Many of us who have faith in God have been encouraged in the last few years by Her Majesty’s reference to her faith in the annual Christmas TV broadcasts. This book enlarges upon that faith in perhaps a surprising way. Here are some quotations from Queen Elizabeth herself:
“I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad…to put my trust in God… I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.”
“I hope that, like me, you will be comforted by the example of Jesus of Nazareth who. Often in circumstances of great adversity, managed to live an outgoing, unselfish and sacrificial life. Countless millions of people around the world continue to celebrate his birthday at Christmas, inspired by his teaching. He made it clear that genuine human happiness and satisfaction lie more in giving than receiving; more in serving than in being served. We can surely be grateful that, two thousand years after the birth of Jesus, so many of us are able to draw inspiration from his life and message, and to find in him a source of strength and courage.”
In one Christmas broadcast, she said:
…“The carol, ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service: ‘What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part’. The carol gives the answer, ‘Yet what I can I give him – give my heart’.”
In 1978 she said:
“Christians have the compelling example of the life and teaching of Christ and, for myself, I would like nothing more than that my grandchildren should hold dear his ideals which have helped and inspired so many previous generations.”
In 2011 the Queen said,
“Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves – from our recklessness or our greed. God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general (important though they are) but a Saviour, with the power to forgive. Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.”
In the same broadcast, she said,
“ In the last verse of this beautiful carol, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, there’s a prayer:
O Holy Child of Bethlehem ,
Descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin
And enter in,
Be born in us today’
It is my prayer that on this Christmas Day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.”
The book charts the Queen’s life through her time in the Girl Guides, her service in the Second World War, her declaration of service to her people on her 21st. birthday, her coronation and through many episodes in her life to the present time. Here are some items in the book to pique your curiosity: ‘The Shooter and the Intruder’, ‘The Prince and the Chauffeur’ ‘Fezes, Football and Faith’, ‘A Tale of Two Simes’ ‘Side Doors and Private Priorities’, ‘Strength for Adversity’, and, ‘Good Evening, Mr. Bond’.
The section on the Queen’s coronation is very interesting. I’m sure it will tell you things you didn’t know, including, ‘The Secret Ceremony’ – the one moment in the ceremony that was not televised.
You may order a free copy online at https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/landing/servantqueen/ or, come along to our own Birthday Celebration Community Day and pick up your free copy from there. We’d love to see you on Saturday, 11th. June at Portswood Church, Portswood Road, from 10am till 2pm.