‘Outpouring of love’: Justin Welby addresses mourners at Queen’s funeral


Those who serve “will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten”, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said in his sermon at the Queen’s funeral.

Welby’s address to the congregation in Westminster Abbey and the global audience beyond focused on eternal life after death, the central message of traditional Christian funerals.

The service was taken from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the official prayerbook of the Church of England noted for its beautiful and archaic language but largely displaced in recent decades by those seeking a more modern style of worship.

Welby opened his short sermon, which came a third of the way through the hour-long service, with the words: “The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death.”

He continued: “The pattern for all who serve God – famous or obscure, respected or ignored – is that death is the door to glory.”

The archbishop recalled the Queen’s promise on her 21st birthday to dedicate her life to service. “Rarely has such a promise been so well kept. Few leaders receive the outpouring of love we have seen.”

Speaking to the 2,000-strong congregation, which included royalty, world leaders and members of the British establishment, he said: “People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer.

“But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten.”

Her family were “grieving as every family at a funeral … but in this family’s case doing so in the brightest spotlight. May God heal their sorrow, may the gap in their lives be marked with memories of joy and life.”

Welby ended his sermon by echoing the Queen’s words in her Covid lockdown address to the nation. “We will meet again,” were words of hope, he said.

“Service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: ‘We will meet again.’”

The procession that opened the service included faith representatives, led by Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Jain and the Bahá’í communities were also represented.

Church leaders from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland joined those from different Christian traditions in England, including the Roman Catholic church and black-majority Pentecostal churches.

Source: The Guardian