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From the Minister... 

Trevor NeillDear friends,
In a few months’ time I’ll be celebrating a significant birthday, one that ends in a zero. I am sure that I’m not alone in looking back over the many changes I’ve seen in my life and wondering how to begin to sum them up. Britain went on a journey of closer union with Europe before deciding to make a turn in the opposite direction. The province I grew up in transitioned from terrible conflict to a peace which seemed secure for many years but now feels more uncertain. A whole host of tasks – watching the news, checking my bank account, reading a map and taking a photo – can now be performed on a device unheard of 20 years ago, the smartphone. And did I mention a pandemic?

But in the midst of what seems like endless change and upheaval, there has been one enduring and constant presence in the life of the nation. For most of us, Elizabeth II is the only monarch we have ever known. This month we will all pause to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

There are many remarkable aspects of Elizabeth’s reign, not least its longevity. For me, what stands out most about her is the way in which most Britons still afford her levels of respect and admiration far in excess of what we think of the Royal Family as a whole. While many of us now regard the House of Windsor as bloated, out of touch and tainted by scandal, the Queen continues to be held in high regard. How can we explain this?

One of the most striking aspects of her personality is her integrity. While rumours have swirled around other members of her family, there has never been any hint or suggestion of inappropriate behaviour on the part of the Queen. This takes us on to the way she has somehow managed to hold a post that is all about pomp and circumstance but in such a humble and self-effacing manner. We know very little about the Queen, and that in itself is a reflection of how she sees her role. Ultimately, it is not about her. Her job is to serve and this leaves no room to indulge herself by promoting her own personality. Finally, we have to admire her astonishing faithfulness to a job she never chose and her willingness to carry on fulfilling her duties long after most of us retire.

All of this is admirable, but it also raises the matter of how the Queen has managed to do this. Perhaps the best answer to this question is found in a book, The Servant Queen, published six years ago, on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Elizabeth herself wrote the foreword to the book, which included these words: ‘Each day is a new beginning.

I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.’ Reading those words, it’s hard not to escape an echo with words of Paul that are found in Colossians 3:17, an invitation for every follower of Jesus to do what is asked of them in an attitude of service and with the aim of giving him the glory: ‘And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’

Sadly, we live in a time when churches, like the Royal Family, are regarded by many people as having fallen short of the standards and expectations which are rightly expected of them. There have been scandals and embarrassments at a national level and sometimes a lack of unity or welcome that means local congregations fail to offer a credible witness or service to their communities. However, the Queen offers an example and a challenge to each of us. Our friends and neighbours may already have made their minds up about the institutional church, but it’s still possible that the warmth, faithfulness and friendship of one individual Christian could cause them to think again and inspire a respect and trust that matters more in the long run. Could this be you? 

As you take time to consider the personal respect and affection the Queen has inspired for so many, it might also be an opportunity to consider the impact of your words and actions on your friends, neighbours and colleagues. How might your integrity, service and faithfulness point others to Jesus?

Wishing you God’s grace and peace

Trevor Neill, 25/05/2022
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Selsdon Baptist Church > About Us > Blog > Blog List > From the Minister... 


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Trevor Neill   12
Rev Trevor Neill   Rev. Denzil Larbi
Ministry Team Leader   Associate Minister with a focus on Evangelism
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