Queen Elizabeth II

(Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Our community mourns with the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth – indeed worldwide – at the passing of such a woman of global inspiration. 

Her sense of duty to her inherited role had a deeply religious character. She made many of us feel it was truly a silent sacrifice of self, rooted in her Christian understanding of service. Her resilience and joyfulness were qualities nurtured by her spiritual life.

However serious in this respect, she communicated a warmly inclusive, humane and humorous, personal directness in her meeting with people at all levels of society. Even  as a symbol of hierarchy she represented unity. 

Beyond politics, as she had to be, and strongly reserved in expressing her personal views, she also managed to convey her core values and beliefs in a most authentic – and silent – way. 

In an age where leadership is often impaired and dysfunctional, she represented its best qualities: fidelity, interiority and balance. In this way she allowed her personal faith and spirit of prayer to shine through her words and her style of performing her duties. What she stood for and represented therefore was never felt as an imposition on others.

No wonder people everywhere will grieve her loss from the world stage, whatever their relationship to the institution, and miss her way of embodying service with natural grace.

She ascended the throne when I was a year old. (She was born the same year as John Main). The Queen’s passing is the end of an historical era. Her symbolic presence had become global, so her loss is felt very widely. 

This is not time just for nostalgia. A contemplative response would be to use it for reflection on the worrying direction we are presently taking collectively into the future. This pause in busyness will be inspired by the personal example of altruistic service that she lived throughout her seventy year reign. 

May she rest in peace. And may her successor, King Charles III, be fortified by her inspiration and occupy this unique role true to his own best spiritual and global values.



Laurence Freeman
8 September 2022

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