An Elegant Homegoing
I am sitting in my study at home and by the miracle of television, I am observing the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. As far back as I can remember she has been the only monarch of England ruling over the British Empire. Ruling for seventy years, she was the longest monarch in the history of England and the world and has ruled with grace all those years. I have known of the Queen of England most all of my life and now it will seem strange, at least for a while, to refer to the King of England after Prince Charles has ascended to the throne. Queen Elizabeth was a devout Christian and did not mind the world knowing it although she kept her faith quietly and let it guide her life and decisions.
The funeral proceedings for this gracious lady are something to behold. Millions of people have lined the streets of London and out to Windsor Castle showing the world just how much they loved their queen. The motorcade traveled many miles to Windsor Castle where she will be buried in honor and splendor. It has been a funeral fit for a Queen and has honored her and her life appropriately. The British know how to conduct a state funeral.
But, while I am impressed in a profound way at all the proceedings, I am reminded that the Queen was a human being just like you and me. She lived a life of luxury simply because she was born into a blood line from which comes the ruling family of the British Empire. That life was much more difficult than most would ever think and she devoted her life to seeing that everything was done properly and in order. Much, much more could be said about Queen Elizabeth but I am reminded for one sobering thing. She had to stand before the same Lord that you and I will stand before one day. While the world bowed to her, she bowed before the Lord of the Universe and she was able to do that because of the fact that she had committed her life to Jesus Christ. Somehow, I feel that the burdens of the life of being Queen for seventy years were lifted and she bowed before the real Royalty of the universe, Our Lord Jesus Christ and laid her crown at His feet.
Every person who is a Christian will stand before the same Lord that the Queen of England stood before only a few days before this grand funeral was held. Her earthly body will rest in splendor but somehow, from her present perspective, I think that she fully grasps the full meaning of what it means to be a saved and a redeemed Christian. The pomp and circumstance of her earthly life means absolutely nothing to her now as she has witnessed the presence of the Lord of heaven and earth.
What does all of this point to? It points to the fact that no matter who a person is, they must all stand before the Lord of the Universe on level ground. No one is honored in Heaven but Jesus Himself. So, no matter the station in life of a human being we must all remember that Jesus died for everyone and if they gave their life to Him as the Queen did, they can rest assured that they will be welcomed into the presence of Jesus on equal footing. The poor and the rich; the educated and the ignorant; the recognized and the ignored; the privileged and the common must all stand before the same Lord and they stand there based on what Jesus did for them, not for what they did for themselves.
I recall when I was the Pastor of Metter Baptist Church a number of years ago, I received a phone call from one of the funeral homes requesting that I perform the funeral service for an aged little lady. She had passed away in a nursing home and no one had claimed her body or communicated with the nursing home officials even though her death had been advertised in a number of papers in the Metter, GA area. I agreed to do the funeral service and on the appointed day I went to the gravesite which was in the pauper’s section of the cemetery. The nursing home people told me that she was a Christian and loved the Lord. No one came to the graveside service except for three nurses who had cared for her and the funeral home employees who tended to digging the grave. For the first time, I helped carry a coffin to the grave. There was no one else to help do it but me. Just before I began the service, the nurses wanted to look at her one more time. They had obviously loved the little lady. The coffin was opened and I also viewed the deceased. She was dressed in a simple white dress with lace on it. Her white hair was combed and a little makeup had been applied. This little lady was as pretty as she could be. Even though she had reached an advanced age, she was still pretty. I thought to myself, that this little lady was once a newborn baby that was being celebrated. Everyone probably said, “what a pretty little baby.” She was loved by someone and probably a whole family. But, time had taken its toll and the family fell away to the point that they never visited her and did not claim her body. It was an emotional moment for me. I will never forget her and how she looked.
In my mind I compare that graveside service with the elegant funeral which was held for Queen Elizabeth II. There is a world of difference in the two funerals. But, in heaven there is no difference in the Queen and the little white-haired lady buried in the pauper’s section. Jesus sees both on the same basis. Both had a soul that is with Him because He died for both on an equal basis. The ground is level at the Cross.
So, while these proceedings of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth were a proper earthly farewell to a great Lady, they are nothing to the welcome that Christians get when they enter heaven and stand before Jesus Christ based on His blood which was shed for them and their faith and commitment to Him as Lord and Savior of all who trust in Him. It would do us all good to remember these things.
The good news is this: One day the Lord will resurrect his own from the grave, give them a glorified body and take them into His presence with that new, glorified body to serve Him forever. That day is coming just as surely as death and taxes so we should devote ourselves to Him in earnest faith and obedience of life so we will be prepared for our own homegoing.
William F. Harrell