Along with the rest of the country, I spent the long weekend watching the various events marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and celebrating with friends and family.
The crowds lining the streets each day showed the incredible affection that the British public have for their Queen and all that she represents. It’s like we all suddenly remembered what it means to be British.
There has been a lot of talk in the media in recent years about the erosion of our national identity, with many suggestions made as to how this has happened and how it can be restored.
There is no doubt that during the 60 year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, British society has undergone huge changes. A few figures tell the story:
When the Queen ascended the throne, abortion was illegal. Now there are nearly 200,000 a year in England and Wales alone.
4.8 per cent of children were born outside marriage in 1952; the figure is now 46.8 per cent.
In 1952 there were roughly 7 marriages per 1000 people; in 2010 that figure had nearly halved, to just under four marriages.
The divorce rate in 2010 was over three and a half times that of 1952, with the number leaping from 33,922 to 119,589.
Our society has become fragmented, confused and disillusioned. The Diamond Jubilee gave us a taste of hope; hope of some kind of recovery for us as a nation, some kind of unity and a renewed sense of community and confidence (just take a look at the pride on display in the media over the following few days).
I believe that there is a longing amongst the British people for this kind of hope.
This hope is only possible through the restoration of what made us a nation, and of which our Queen stands as a representative: the central place of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Before Christianity came to Britain, this island consisted of mutually hostile tribes. It was not united and it was not a nation. It was only the Gospel that provided a point of unity and which provided a basis for law and government that allowed this nation to grow and flourish.
The Christian foundations have been slowly eroded with devastating results, some of which I have already mentioned.
We risk becoming as fragmented and hopeless as we once were if we do not once again recover a love for Jesus and remain loyal to Him.
At her coronation, the Queen promises to “maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel”.
The Queen and her role in our country remind us of times of greater security, happiness and community – times when the place of Jesus Christ at the heart of our nation was recognised and embraced.
Our nation’s progress lies in returning to Him once again; He never turns anyone away, even those who have turned their back on Him.
Let us praise God that we have a Queen who acknowledges Jesus as Lord and pray for her as she seeks to remain faithful to the promises she made at her coronation.
In truth, what she stands for is not Britain’s current reality. The celebrations on the street this weekend demonstrated, however, that it is the kind of reality we are longing and searching for.