Journalist Lauren Windle remarks on what an incredible gospel opportunity the Queen’s funeral is and explains that we all have a part to play in making sure Jesus’ message lands.
I’m a tabloid journalist by profession, I branch out to other things – including Christian media – but the bulk of my experience lies in the 3,000+ articles I’ve written for the British tabloids.
I once snuck a gospel message into The Daily Star when I wrote about the compassion we can show to those struggling with addiction. One of my proudest moments was when I literally spoke about Christ (it wasn’t even thinly veiled) in an article on the Mail Online. In talking about how to rid ourselves of jealousy I wrote the line: “I find using tools from the Bible helps; make it obedient to Christ, then pray a prayer of gratitude over that person/those people.” And it was published, word for word. Anyone who reads the Mail Online will know that the comments can be brutal, but there was only one that acknowledged the faith element of the piece with the unimaginative line: “The Bible? Really??”
Well today, I find myself in the same position as I’ve just finished writing articles for The Sun on Psalm 23 and another on Psalm 42 – and it’s all because of the Queen. In preparation for the Queen’s funeral today the paper wanted a series of digital articles explaining each different element of the service; the speakers, the ceremony, the dress code and the songs.
I was asked to explain the meaning and message behind the Psalms for an article in a tabloid paper – can you imagine?!
With an apology for assigning me something so boring, my editor asked me to write about two of the hymns; Lord is my Shepard, based on Psalm 23 and Like As The Hart based on Pslam 42. In both I was asked to explain the meaning and message behind the lyrics – can you imagine?!
This got me thinking… a reported three billion people will be watching the service today and for many it will be the most overtly Christian event they have ever seen. The hymns, the readings, the talks, each one are a unique opportunity for God to touch someone’s heart deeply.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby just highlighted the final words of The Queen’s Covid 19 lockdown speech: “We will meet again”. He said: “[These are] words of hope from a song of Vera Lynn. Christianity means a certain expectation of something not yet seen. Christ rose from the dead and offers life to us all. Abundant life now and life with him in eternity.” Many will desperately need to hear this eternal truth.
A reported three billion people will be watching the service today and for many it will be the most overtly Christian event they have ever seen.
In Isiah 55:11 God says: “My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” So that is my prayer and I hope your’s too. That God’s work will be fully accomplished through this words read at the funeral service. That people who were previously shut off to Jesus and faith will start to ask questions about what it could mean for them in their lives.
The Queen was an evangelist, and increasingly so as she got older. So let’s partner with God and her one last time and help this hit home for the billions of people who truly need it. Don’t stop praying – this isn’t life or death, it’s far more important than that.