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Bishop Paul's Platinum Jubilee Sermon



‘Does not wisdom call?’

In the moving reflections Her Majesty offered on her own life during ‘Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen’ broadcast last Sunday she remarked on the importance of wisdom.

For her, wisdom is found in the person of Jesus Christ. As she said in her Christmas broadcast 2016 ‘…billions of people now follow his [Christ’s] teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.’

This weekend we join with millions around the globe celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Each of us will have different thoughts and feelings about our Queen. For some what will stand out is her constancy and faithfulness; for others her attitude of service; for others her willingness to change thoughtfully and carefully; for others it will be her emphasis on love of neighbour. All of these are true aspects of how she has reigned.

She clearly approaches these celebrations with an attitude of thankfulness to God for his sustaining strength through all the decades. She wants there to be joy and celebration at the heart of this Platinum anniversary.

Personally it has been my honour to meet Her Majesty on a number of occasions. This has included private conversations, and on one occasion being driven by her across the Sandringham Estate. Her smile, her humour, her awareness of what was happening in the nation and in ordinary peoples’ lives all stand out from those times. So too her wisdom.

It is the wisdom that calls, guides; and strengthens. The true wisdom that is found in Jesus Christ, whom the Queen has followed all her life.



From the outset Her Majesty was clear about her deep sense that being Queen of this nation, and the Commonwealth, is her God given calling. As she said in 1952, ‘Pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve him and you, all the days of my life.’

Jesus called his first disciples, ‘Follow me’. People of all nations and walks of life ever since have heard the same call. It is one that Her Majesty has herself followed. She has held this deep sense of vocation from God. God, in Jesus, calls each of us by name to follow and serve. We do well to learn from Her Majesty that it is for our good that we say yes to this call of the divine Wisdom.



The Queen has faced many challenges throughout her long reign. She has helped guide the move from Empire to Commonwealth in ways which have held these diverse nations together. She has regularly met her 14 UK Prime Ministers and offered them her own private wisdom. Across the globe over 170 have served as Prime Ministers in nations of which she is the Sovereign.

She has been a parent to her 4 children, grandparent and great grandparent. As a family they have shared many happy times; and faced difficult, tragic and sad situations. We all know that she had a wonderful partnership with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. She described him on their Golden Wedding Anniversary as ‘quite simply .. my strength and stay all these years .. and I … owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim.’

Yet for her the greatest guide of all has been Jesus Christ.

‘For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, … is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role-model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance, and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none.’ (Christmas 2014)

To be the very best nation possible where all are valued and cared for we need vision and guidance. What Her Majesty’s life and reign reminds us all is that this guidance cannot be simply from our own human wisdom. We need the wisdom that comes from above. This comes through the Scriptures, prayer, humility and service. We need to be guided by Wisdom.



The call of faithful, humble service, followed by the Queen is demanding. It is easy to look at all the pomp, pageantry and wealth and wrongly conclude that it must be a relatively easy life being the monarch. The reality is that it has involved sacrifice the whole way through. It has meant living in the public eye and being constantly commented upon. It has involved heavy workload schedules. Faithful service requires strength. Her Majesty the Queen has discovered that strength comes from God. As she put it herself,

Our Christian faith helps us to sustain those convictions. Christ not only revealed to us the truth in his teachings. He lived by what he believed and gave us the strength to try to do the same – and, finally, on the cross, he showed the supreme example of physical and moral courage.’ (Christmas 1990)

We all need divine strength to live our lives to the full.



‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ Not fear in the sense of being afraid of God, but fear in the sense of reverence, wonder and trust; recognising God’s reality and awesome Love for us all. As we celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee let us thank God that she has reigned over us with wisdom. Wisdom she has discovered in Jesus Christ. May we all know this wisdom that calls, guides and strengthens found in Jesus Christ.

First published on: 6th June 2022
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