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CNN Live Event/Special

A Service Of Prayer And Reflection For Her Majesty The Queen. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired September 09, 2022 - 13:30   ET




RIGHT REV. SARAH MULLALLY, BISHOP OF LONDON: May I speak in the name of God, who's Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen. A life lived in the service of others is a rare jewel. It is a jewel that her late Majesty the Queen wore as a crown. Today we gather in this Cathedral Church, with those across our nation, the Commonwealth and the world with a profound sadness as we mourn her death. In doing so, we mark and celebrate the life of an extraordinary dedicate -- which was dedicated to others. During her coronation at Westminster Abbey almost 70 years ago, the young Queen was anointed before God. With sesame and olive oil, containing orange flowers, roses, jasmine, cinnamon and musk, her life was set apart for the service of others. This act of anointing was so sacred, that she was hidden from view and covered by a golden canopy, a rare moment of privacy in a life to be lived in full view of millions.

Her Majesty's sense of vocation and calling was not something she could pick up and put down again. It was deeply embedded in her understanding of herself. In the spirit of our reading from St. Paul's letters to the Romans, she did not live to herself, nor has she died to herself. Most of us have not known life without the Queen. When she ascended to the throne, the world and the country were both very different places. For seven decades, Her Majesty remained a remarkable constant in the lives of millions, a symbol of unity, strength, forbearance and resilience. She has been this nation's unerring heartbeat through times of progress, joy, and celebration, as well as in much darker and more difficult seasons.

In a message released on extension day, she wrote, in this special year, as I dedicate anew to your service, I hope we will be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship, and good neighborliness. As we mourn her loss, give thanks for her life, and re-orientate ourselves as individuals and a nation to life without Her Majesty. May her words remind us of the power and strength to be found in coming together. All of us are grieving the loss of our head of state, head of Commonwealth, and supreme governor of the Church of England, but the Royal Family are grieving the loss of a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother.


How we learn to live with the death of a loved one differs for each one of us. But we must all find a way to grieve. As the theologian Tom Wright said, not to grieve, not to lament is to slam the door on the same place in the innermost heart, from which love itself comes. We may not know the power of that love, until the moment of loss. For us, the writer, Kahlil Gibran, wisely observes, love knows not its own death -- depth until the hour of separation. When we are bereaved, we need to make opportunities individually and together to face and absorb the death of -- depth of our loss. Yet we are also invited into the healing love of God, which never falters, and which is the deepest and widest perspective of our lives. It is a perspective beautifully expressed by the writer of Deuteronomy, who tells us that, underneath are the everlasting arms. Even in the midst of our grief, we are enfolded in that all-encompassing love.

As a Christian, I believe that death is not the end. That gives me hope, even in the worst of times. To speak of hope is not to deny the fear, the loss, and the anguish which death brings. Jesus himself stood with Martha and Mary of the two of his beloved friend Lazarus, and wept, holy undone by grief. But in that cameo, we have the assurance of God's presence in the world's pain, and a model for our response to human suffering. God is there for us, and we are called to be there for others. The word of the Prophet Isaiah assures us that the Spirit of the Lord is at work and will bind up the brokenhearted, comfort those who mourn, and give them a garland instead of ashes, and the oil of gladness instead of mourning.

Her Majesty had a remarkable Christian faith, about which she had increasingly spoken in recent years, referring to Jesus Christ as her anchor and role model. Here in this Cathedral Church, on the 3rd of June, we joined to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, the Archbishop of York spoke of her faith in Jesus Christ, as a fountain and a well, upon which she drew deeply, and by which she was replenished through the challenges and joys of life. If Christ was her anchor, her husband, the late Prince Philip, in her own words, was her majesty's strength and stay. Yet even in the depths of her own mourning, we saw once again her courage and her instinct for putting the need or needs of others first.

At her coronation all those years ago, she walked up the aisle of Westminster Abbey, straight past the throne and knelt at the high altar in silent prayer. She gave her allegiance to God, before anyone gave allegiance to her. The depth, the breadth, and the generosity of Her Majesty's self-giving in service was an extraordinary gift. And I am certain it has gladdened God's heart. No words can encompass how much we owe her late Majesty the Queen, she will be profoundly and greatly missed.


My prayers are with the Royal Family at this time that they may know in the midst of their loss, that underneath are the everlasting arms. In the words of Simeon, when after a long life lived in faithfulness, he met with God incarnate. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word, Amen.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us pray. God of our journey, you have called us to follow in the way of Christ, even to death. By the victory of the cross, lead your faithful servant, Elizabeth, through death to resurrection, where Christ has gone before. Lord, in your mercy.

MASS-GOERS: Hear our prayer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saving God, you have promised your salvation to all who trust in you. Bring her with all your saints to your eternal presence. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

MASS-GOERS: Hear our prayer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ever Living God, you have promised a new life to all who are found in Christ. Clothe her with the life of Christ, whom not even death could hold. Lord, in your mercy.

MASS-GOERS: Hear our prayer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eternal God, all our days depend on you. For you are the giver of all good gifts. Grant us with her the life of your eternal joy and peace. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

MASS-GOERS: Hear our prayer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trusting in the compassion of God. Let us pray with confidence as our Savior has taught us.

MASS-GOERS: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever, Amen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eternal God, we pray for ourselves as we pray for Elizabeth, our departed sovereign. We stand where earth and heaven meet, where life is brought to death and death is made the gate to glory. Deliver us from fear and doubt, from despair and unbelief, and bring us all to the light of Your presence. Grant us that peace which the world cannot give, so that we with her may trust in You and find our life in You. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, our Savior in life and death, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit. God forever and ever, Amen.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish, they seem to have died.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But they are at peace. Their hope is full of immortality.

MASS-GOERS: Their hope is full of immortality.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, You willingly gave yourself up to death, so that all might be saved and passed from death to life. By dying, You unlock the gates of life for all those who believe in You. So, we commend Your faithful servant, Elizabeth, into Your arms of mercy, believing that with sins forgiven, she will share a place of happiness, light, and peace in the kingdom of Your glory forever. Amen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rest eternal grant unto her, Oh, Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her.

MASS-GOERS: And let light perpetual shine upon her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May she rest in peace.