An Hour Alone
On Saturday the funeral of Prince Phillip was held in England, and a photo quickly began circulating afterwards of Queen Elizabeth, his wife of more than 70 years. Prior to the service’s start, she sat alone in the vast, empty chapel. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, all in attendance were spread out. Expressions of sympathy began pouring in with the image’s stark reminder: even those labeled as ‘royal’ experience the isolation brought by death.
On a global scale, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of our mortality. The safety protocols have heightened the reality that in death we experience unwanted isolation. As the Church, we are called to mourn with those who mourn and to pray with those who are suffering. We also must find ways to companion one another with hope in the midst of suffering.
I witnessed that hope on display in Prince Philip’s service prior to and following the queen’s hour alone on the pew. When she arrived at the church, the archbishop walked her to her seat—a duty and high privilege every minister experiences with a funeral, and one that always moves me deeply. In that moment, he was her pastor, and she was the grieving widow. Her shepherd walked with her. Then, right after the service, the whole family made their way to a gathering—the queen’s car surrounded by her family walking alongside her.
When we give our lives to Jesus, we become part of a heavenly royalty. Yes, we will have hours spent alone. But if we look closely, we see we are still surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, and that we are never truly alone. Let’s shepherd one another with that heavenly love.
all good things to each of you,