There is something peculiarly British about the pomp, pageantry and absolute precision of our solemn state occasions – and the way we broadcast such ceremony to the world, with a kind of reserved national pride.

Today’s royal funeral and processions for Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, with their mix of monarchy and military, are a case in point.

But what has made today different is the message that Archbishop Justin Welby preached from the pulpit of Westminster Abbey to all those billions of people who were watching around the globe.

The message that the Queen’s example was not set through her position or her ambition, but through Jesus Christ, who she followed.

The message that people of loving service are rare, and leaders of loving service are still rarer – but those who lovingly serve others are remembered, while those who cling to power and privilege are forgotten.

The message that all of us will, one day, face the merciful judgment of God, and none of us are exempt. Not even the Queen.

When God first sent a rainbow, it was given to Noah in the context of rain, storm, flood – and judgment. It was a sign of God’s promise never to wipe out humanity again and, ever since, the rainbow has been a reminder of God’s grace.

So how amazing to see this photo, taken as the sun was setting over Westminster last night, by cameraman Alex Doherty.

Sometimes a rainbow says it all, without saying a thing.


Don’t just take my word for it. You can read Justin Welby’s sermon here, or you can watch it here.

Photo credit: Alex Doherty


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