God Save the King – by Greg Albrecht
When her health declined, Queen Elizabeth (1926-2022) travelled from London to her beloved family home in Balmoral, Scotland, perhaps because it was there, amidst treasured memories and traditions, she wished to die. On Thursday, September 8, when news of the Queen’s deteriorating health became known, crowds gathered around Buckingham Palace in London. When the sobering, staggering news of her death swept across the throng, without prompting, many started to sing the national anthem, only with slight lyrical adaptations, gender specific words changed to reflect the new king. In that moment, God Save the Queen became God Save the King, recognizing the passing of the crown to Charles, the Queen’s oldest child.
Shortly after, Prime Minister Elizabeth Truss, who had visited the Queen in Balmoral just a day before, in order to be appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth as her 15th Prime Minister, spoke outside 10 Downing Street in London. She gave tribute to the Queen as a rock upon which modern Britain grew, the only monarch the majority of citizens and residents of the United Kingdom could remember, ending her brief official announcement about the death of the Queen with the words “God Save the King.”
Much has been and will be said, rightfully so, eulogizing and lauding this remarkable woman of faith, character and courage. She had an unfailing sense of service and duty. She reigned with humility, grace and dignity. In the complex and confusing world of recent date, as well as during the just-over-70 years of her reign, she was a rock of stability, durability, wisdom and strength.
As her nation and the world endured warfare and strife, not to mention enormous social and technological advance and changes, the Queen was a calming influence, an unmoved servant- leader. The Queen was the anchor for this island nation and empire so rich in nautical history, tradition and lore.
During her lifetime and during her reign, the culture of Great Britain and that of the world experienced sea-changes of values and perspectives in so many ways, yet the Queen always remained steadfast. When so much seemed to be upended, questioned and overturned, she was there, a deep-rooted, enduring anchor to be counted on.
She was always on duty. She was always someone on whom individuals, her nation and the world could depend. She was, for her country, and for many around the world, a sound, true and tested bridge over which we moved from the 20th to the 21st century.
The Queen was a woman of Christ-centered faith, following the teachings of Jesus Christ, taking great comfort during difficult and challenging times from his life and his teachings. Her faith informed her compassion and her service, her inclusive care for everyone, her tolerance and her desire for harmony and respectful unity.
Though I lived only seven years in England, those seven years were critical years in my life during which my wife and I were married and during which both of our now adult children were born. I grew to love and admire much about British culture, history and tradition, including the Royal Family. Shortly after I arrived as a student in the United Kingdom in 1967, I attended a movie with friends. At the end of the movie (cinema) I rose from my seat, and started to walk toward the aisle. It was then I discovered yet another British tradition. Everyone was on their feet, singing “God Save the Queen” (a custom long since discarded as irrelevant).
Kingdoms and empires rise and fall. The known and the unknown, rich and poor, great and small, come and go. Our individual lives will, like small boats on a vast ocean, be battered and tossed when the seas rage and the storms thunder and fulminate. Yes, may “God Save the King.” But much more than that, may we be relieved, assured and at rest that the King of our kingdom is alive and well, will never die, and will come again. He will never abandon or leave us. He is indeed our Rock.