According to Psalm 116 v 15, ‘Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants’. The death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a woman so beloved by her friends and family, and a monarch so deeply respected by many across the globe, is a poignant reminder to all of us of the beauty and yet the brevity of even a long life.
The flowers chosen to mark the Queen’s were remarkable. In some ways they were simple, but at the same time they were highly symbolic, and selected with great care because of the associations and deep meanings that they carried. They were gathered from the gardens in which the Queen spent time as a child; as a young woman; as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother; and as a world leader.
Few people on Earth are crowned with jewels. But many of us enjoy the priceless beauty of flowers, whether they be found in woodlands or roadsides or gardens. The Gospel of Luke records the words of Jesus: ‘Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these’. Flowers are a gift from God to each of us, whether we are poor or rich in earthly terms. The flowers lovingly arranged on the coffin of our late Queen seemed to underline, above all, her humanity. These were flowers for a Queen, yes, but they were flowers for Elizabeth, a person, who was and is, like each one of us, deeply loved by God.
This is my poem in the Queen Elizabeth’s honour.
The garden flowers that crown your resting place -
freesia, fresh greenery, rose - are soft
and unblemished, like the blush of youth
in your face the day you gave your promise.
The Light still shines in the darkness:
reflected in the jewels, exquisite and bright;
in eyes that are kind; in hands that hold gifts;
in paths of peace and sacrifice.
The flame of the steady candle graces
the room. There is the passing of feet,
as grief remains unspoken. Tears of sadness
mingle with the singing of angels in flight.
Sharon Jones 16th September 2022
Scripture teaches that each one of us is of immense value to God, not because of any jewels or other riches we may possess or lack, and not because of any inherent giftedness or goodness. When we were utterly without strength, Christ died for us. The worth of each one of us is found in His ‘costly wounds of love’, as this beautiful song by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Graeme Kendrick reminds us.