How the Queen’s Death Reveals a Desire for the Lasting
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II, like many other major public occasions, has prompted us to do things we wouldn’t normally do.
People who rarely close the doors of local churches stop by and sit in silence for a while to sign condolence books. A stranger who has never met a person feels like he or she has lost a family member. There is something about such a significant event that makes or forces us to override our normal behavior, reveal hidden longings, and ask questions that we would not normally ask. Times of mourning like this move something within us. It reveals deeper layers of meaning and question.
When people on the street are asked about their personal lives and feelings, they are usually quick-tempered, but this time, the people waiting in line to see the state of the Queen’s coffin spoke enthusiastically. We wanted to talk about our heartbreaking experiences and why we came to London. They talked about family, religion, faith, life, death, everything. It was as if the opportunity had opened up avenues for conversation that would normally be hidden. People found themselves in the presence of a reality greater than themselves, a reality that required quiet reverence rather than the usual babbling. Of course, most of the time, we never address these issues. Topics like death, politics, and the mysteries of life are not usually the subject of conversations with strangers.
Blaise Pascal wrote:
“Death, misery and ignorance could not be healed, and people chose to be happy and not think about such things. A steady and pleasant existence – makes us face death, misery and ignorance.” .
Such a death confronts us with our death, our own loss, and the fact that we do not know or control the future. It brings the unpleasant and unfamiliar to the surface. But it’s not just that we often don’t think deeper. It is also because we do not have structures to help us deal with life and death. Huge carpets of flowers are laid down, and people line up for hours just to get a glimpse of the coffin.
All of this reveals the spirituality that lurks beneath our seemingly mundane mindset, the deep yearnings that surface at times like these.
Symbol of permanence
One of the main themes recurring by media commentators is the yearning for permanence.
The Queen has been a symbol of permanence for many of us. Something stable and fixed in a rapidly changing world. The pomp of the last few weeks – the colors, the horses, the swords, the spears, the uniforms, the processions – is a kind of link to the past. It makes us feel rooted in history over a span of time longer than our own short view of life. .
But, of course, the Queen was only a sign or symbol of permanence. She may have lived longer than any other British monarch, but she was the first to admit that she came from a very long family line. The fact that he became king the moment Charles died speaks to a seamless thread that will outlast everyone on the throne.
The monarchy itself has always been only a sign of greater stability—God’s fidelity. He is the person described by the psalmist as follows:
“From generation to generation our dwelling place which produced the whole world [before the mountains were born]” – God is “forever” (Psalm 90: