"... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..." Ecclesiastes 3.4
Today will probably witness a slew of superlatives: greatest pageant, largest number of foreign dignitaries, most watched event, biggest security operation... All for Her late Majesty's state funeral. Few would argue against her deserving it. Yet I suspect the lady herself would not have expected it. So why all the fuss?
This is as much about us and the new king, Charles III, as it is about Queen Elizabeth (nach maireann). It may have seemed excessive at the outset but society has needed the 10 days of official mourning, to come to terms with what Elizabeth II's life and death mean to us. And to get used to the idea of her son and heir succeeding her, after the longest apprenticeship in history.
It all makes the events about to unfold in our streets and on our screens worthy of our savouring. They are a rite of passage. On one level this is like the baptisms, weddings and funerals that punctuate all of our lives. On another level it is special because this one moment embraces us all.
My prayer is that, as in her life, so in her death, our late and noble queen will point beyond herself to the Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ, to whom she dedicated her life so diligently and for whom she witnessed so faithfully. If anyone desires to honour her legacy, let the lady herself point you in the appropriate direction!