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THOUGHTS ON THE QUEEN’S FUNERAL

But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Did you watch Queen Elizabeth’s funeral? I thrilled in watching it and loved the commendation of the Queen’s soul “to the mercy of God, our maker and redeemer. Go forth, O Christian soul, from this world…” I watched and gave thanks for a queen who was scrupulous in keeping her political and social view to herself, but forthright in declaring her faith in Jesus Christ as her Sovereign and her Savior.  

Then, as I watched 142 Royal Navy sailors drawing the Queen’s coffin to Westminster Abbey, I was reminded of the grand funeral in 2011 for the last crown prince of the Habsburg Empire, Otto von Habsburg. He was a man of so many titles and honors that I seriously doubt that he or his mother remembered them all: “Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius, Hungarian: Ferenc József Ottó Róbert Mária Antal Károly Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Lajos Gaetan Pius Ignác.

When Otto’s funeral parade arrived at the place of his final resting, Vienna’s Capuchin Church, the procession’s leader knocked on the church’s door. Then, a voice from inside the church asked: “Who desires admission?”

The leader of the procession declared in a strong voice: “Otto of Austria, former Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, Prince Royal of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia….” and 43 more titles! But the friar answered back: “We do not know him!”

The leader of the procession knocked again, and the friar answered: “Who desires admission?” In yet a louder voice the leader answered:

“Dr Otto von Habsburg; President and Honorary President of the Pan-European Union; Member and Father of the House of the European Parliament; Holder of honorary doctorates from countless universities and freeman of many communities in Central Europe; Member of numerous noble academies and institutes; Bearer of high and highest awards, decorations and honors of church and state made to him in recognition of his decade-long struggle for the freedom of peoples, for right and justice.”

Still, the friar answered: “We do not know him!”

Then, for a third time the leader knocked and the friar answered: “Who desires admission?” But this time the leader answered: “Otto: a mortal and sinful man!” The friar announced: “Let him be admitted!”

This is the extravagant good news of the Gospel for sovereigns, commoners, tax-gatherers, prostitutes and sinners: not just that God saves sinners, but that God loves us and saves us while still sinners (Romans 5:8)! Nothing in our hand we bring; simply to the Cross we cling!

A fellow traveler,
Tim

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