Today’s gospel reading speaks of an encounter with Jesus that leaves a life transformed, enabling a sharing of faith. As churches up and down this land come together this week to celebrate the 90th birthday of our (temporal) Sovereign it is fitting to spend a moment reflecting on the example she has given, particularly in recent years, of sharing the faith that has enabled her remarkable service, touching the lives of so many. The response to the Everybody Welcome sessions, both the sheer numbers attending and the valuable feedback that is emerging, encourages me to think that we – as a parish family – are showing signs of that maturity. A willingness not only to serve the community in which we are set but also to want to share something of what motivates us. Frances Reed – born before the Queen, so our oldest regular worshipper – whose own life of service and faith has touched (transformed?) many lives moves to Sidcup in the next week and we wish her every blessing as she does. Alongside that ‘fare well’ comes a joyful welcome to Erin, Peter and Kirsty Murgatroyd’s daughter, born on Thursday. Congratulations! So, with the Queen, Frances and Erin reminding us that we are never too young or old to encounter Jesus or share his love, let us pray:
as we celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, receive our heartfelt thanks for all that you have given her in these ninety years and for all that she has given to her people.
Continue, we pray, your loving purposes in her,
and as you gather us together in celebration, unite us also in love and service to one another;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.