Easter People: Renewed
Updated: Apr 19
On a visit to New York while in the Royal Marines, I went into a grocery store to buy some food and was at the checkout placing my items on the belt. As I reached the cashier, I took my wallet from my military uniform trousers and began fumbling through the right amount of dollars and cents, with this somewhat unfamiliar currency in my hand. When I looked up to pay the person on the checkout, she said, “it’s ok sir” and pointed behind me. As I turned around, another woman was standing there and replacing her credit card in her purse, having paid for my lunch, she said to me, “thank-you for your service.” As you can imagine I stood there speechless.
I had not done anything personally for that woman, but it was, I suppose, whom I represented wearing the distinctive uniform and green beret of the Royal Marines, in that I had served both my Queen and my country. It is a phrase I now often use, notably during this pandemic. To the postal workers, to care workers serving the needs of the vulnerable, to street cleaners and bin men, to supermarket staff and to our NHS - “thank-you for your service.”
This last week we remember, give thanks, and mourn the life of a man truly dedicated to a whole-life of public service and duty, to both our Queen and nation, HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip was a devoted consort to HM the Queen for over 60 years, until his death last Friday. The role of the Queen's consort is primarily to provide companionship and moral and practical support for the monarch. It is a role that, above all else, is one of dedicated service and one that Prince Philip fulfilled with distinction.
In many ways it is the ultimate supporting role. His own bulging portfolio of charitable and conservation work aside, Prince Philip always maintained his first duty was to serve and support the Queen. In a powerful speech to mark their Golden Wedding Anniversary, the Queen said of her husband, life-long companion, and chief support:
“He has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, in this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”
As Easter people, we remember that God sent His Son Jesus Christ ‘to serve, not to be served,' who gave himself upon the cross for us, but in joy-filled victory, rose again three days later, so we may know new life in him.
As Easter people, Jesus restored love and service to the very centre of our being and made it clear throughout the gospels, that our calling to follow him is one of love and service of others. Be it in family or neighbour, church or community, nation or stranger, our love and dedication to service must be primarily motivated by a duty to serve out of love, regardless of the receptivity or acknowledgment of others.
With the sad events of the last week and the last year, alleluias may have been a little more difficult to come by or somewhat subdued. But as Easter people, Jesus is with us and within us through the Holy Spirit. He is also outside us, found in others and, as Easter people, we are to meet him especially in those who need our love and service, those we can feed, comfort, clothe, heal, forgive, love and serve.
In Christ, Justin
Hear more from our Easter People sermon series at our 9 or 11am services this Sunday, 25th April 2021.
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