On June 10th three celebrations took place, two in London and the other in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A. The Duke of Edinburgh’s 95th low-key birthday celebration occurred on the same day as his wife’s Official 90th Birthday. Over in the States a different event took place; the funeral of Muhammad Ali who died aged 74 years.
Queen Elizabeth II had three consecutive days of celebrations beginning with a Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The following day as Colonel in Chief of the five Household Cavalry Regiments, she took the march-past at the Trooping of the Colour ceremony at Buckingham Palace. This pageant is believed to have taken place from the reign of Charles 11.
On Sunday 12th a street party called "The Patron’s Lunch" was held in The Mall where 10,000 people paid £150.00 each to attend. The attendees were mainly from the 600 plus charities that the Queen is Patron of, and the rest from the general public. Rain in the morning did not deter the well-wishers as they showed affection and loyalty to Her Majesty. The rain ceased in time for the final electric festival themed atmosphere of choriographed entertainment produced by members of the charities and organisations that the the Monarch supports.
Whatever one’s views are about individual members of the Royal family, it would be most uncharitable to deny what the Queen has done for the country during her long reign. One celebrity said, “She has been the glue in our nation”, she has managed to maintain peace in a multi-cultural nation through many changes over the years.
For me to say that Elizabeth II has been England’s greatest Monarch would be speculative. She is positively better than bloody Queen Mary who was notorious for burning many Protestant Christians at the stake. At Lewes in Sussex, six men and four women were burned at the same time, eighteen in all died in the flames, for their faith. That queen would have met her Maker, guilty of the blood of many martyrs who were burned at the stake during her reign. The Bible records the history of good kings and those that did evil, nothing is hid, all is revealed, there can be no cover up with God!
Muhammad Ali was never in doubt as to who he thought was the greatest boxer in his day. “I’m the greatest,” he shouted loud and clear, “I dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee” he told his opponents among many other outlandish boastings. He said that he could switch the light off at the wall switch and be in bed before the room got dark! He must have had a dimmer switch with an effective delay, he was quick, but not that quick? He could talk the talk and he could fight the fight, but sadly it was finally Parkinson’s disease that put his light out, to go and meet his Maker, the Greatest of all.
Before John the Baptist was born it was said of him in Luke 1. 15, “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” That is where true greatnes is, it is in the sight of the Lord, not in man’s assessment or approval, but God’s. In Luke 7. 28 Jesus said, “For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” That was an appraisal of the highest order, not some give-away title in a birthday honours list, but recognition of a life in the service of preaching the gospel and pointing men and women to Christ. He proclaimed in Matt. 3. 2, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. Jesus preached the same in the next chapter. Men and women in that day were called upon to examine their lives in the sight of God, to confess their sin and to turn away from it, that is what repentance is, it is saying sorry to God and asking His forgiveness. Have you done that? If not, why not quietly get alone with God and tell Him about your sin.
The ultimate in greatness is seen in Christ, Paul said in Titus 2. 13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Luke records in chapter 1 verse 32, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.” People today despise Him, they use His name as a swear word to curse anyone or anything. The amazing thing is that God would forgive such people with a foul tongue and give them the greatest possession a person could have, eternal life. He did that for me, not only cleansed my mouth but all the sin of my life and made me a child of God, a new creation in Christ Jesus.
Looking at creation we see variety, vastness and beauty, all made by Him, John says in chapter 1 verse 3, “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made”. In Psalm chapter 33 verse 9 we read, “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” The whole creation was brought into being by the spoken word of the Son of God,the Son of the Highest, now that is greatness. When Jesus died on the cross He said, “It is finished”, He was saying that all the work required by God to redeem sinners back to Himself has been completed. Creation and Redemption could only be done by the greatest being, the Son of God, the Saviour of the World.
Paul said in 1st Corinthians chapter 13 verse 13, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ secures salvation for those who call upon Him. He gives eternal life and the most glorious hope that anyone could have, but better still He plants a love in the believing heart that is the greatest possession a person could have.
Have you got faith in the greatest person? A living hope for the great eternity? And the love of God in heart and soul?
John chapter 15 verse 13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
Written for FTMP by a Guest Blogger