As an itinerant Christian preacher, I am always on the lookout for experiences from my own life to use as illustrations in my sermons that I preach in church. Who would think that a battered-up orange traffic cone and a piece of car debris from driver violence at my school crosswalk could be used as an illustration to honour the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2nd in a church sermon. I set up four bright orange traffic cones along the solid center line of the dangerous Highway 93 every morning and afternoon. Plus, four right at the crosswalk on the shoulder. It is an attempt to try and calm traffic and to try and prevent drivers from passing through the crosswalk. I endeavor to serve and protect these children to the best I am able to. However, these traffic cones get hit by drivers very violently. My deep concern one day it will be a child.
The day following the incident that left a broken fog light cover on the road, I made a tweet on Twitter about my deep concern for the safety of the children, finishing off with “pylons (traffic cones) are replaceable. Children are not replaceable”. Shortly after I got a reply from my ultrarunner friend named Chris, who lives in Arizona. Chris remarked that he could probably identify the vehicle with some good pictures of the light cover. So, I sent another photo of the fog light cover facing outwardly.
Chris replied to that tweet with, “If you can get me any numbers or other details from the back that would be helpful. Part of my job has me doing this on occasion for local police departments”. Up to the point I hadn’t looked at the fog light cover closely. I also wasn’t aware that experts could trace this back to a make and model of a car. On closer inspection sure enough, there was a serial number. Subaru 57731FJ010 Cover Fog F STD LH. Chris got back to me very quickly with this reply, “Thanks Carl. That was easy. 2012-2016 Subaru Impreza sedan or wagon is the only thing that it fits”.
I am grateful that Chris took the time to help me. Now, every day at my crosswalk I am watching for a 2012-2016 Subaru Impreza that’s missing a fog light cover and possible other front-end damage. It got me thinking that with police departments and with all their advanced training, they still call in more knowledgeable experts like Chris to help with their investigations. Such as when there is a hit-and-run and no witnesses. But car debris ended up on the road.
This past couple of weeks there has been a lot of radio time, television time and internet coverage of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2nd. Many have regarded her as the most the most well-known person on the planet in contemporary times. She was the eldest of two daughters of King George 6th. who reigned from 1936 until his death in1952. King George was only 56 when he died. It has been suggested that the stress of World War 2 had taken its toll on the Kings health. At only 25 years old, Elizabeth 2nd became Queen.
Before her official Coronation Queen Elizabeth spoke her first Christmas address December 25, 1952. She concluded with these words, “At my Coronation next June, I shall dedicate myself anew to your service. I shall do so in the presence of a great congregation, drawn from every part of the Commonwealth and Empire, while millions outside Westminster Abbey will hear the promises and the prayers being offered up within its walls, and see much of the ancient ceremony in which Kings and Queens before me have taken part through century upon century. You will be keeping it as a holiday; but I want to ask you all, whatever your religion may be, to pray for me on that day – to pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life”.
I do believe her prayers have been answered. During the 70 years of her reign, she ruled with grace and dignity. During Queen Elizabeth’s reign, Great Britain had 15 Prime Ministers, Canada 12 Prime Ministers and 13 Canadian Governor Generals. There were also 5 popes during that time. During her 70-year reign Queen Elizabeth made 22 official tours of Canada, more than any other Commonwealth country. In the Bible there are 13 Queens listed and 108 Kings. Some were good Queens and Kings. Some were horrific, brutal tyrants. With the thousands upon thousands of people coming out to pay their respect for Queen Elizabeth speaks volumes. The lineup is up to 8 kilometers long with up to a 16 hour wait.
Queen Elizabeth was a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. She lived out her faith daily. The late Billy Graham said he found Queen Elizabeth “to be a woman of rare modesty and character,” and made a pledge to pray for her and her family every day. Billy Graham had the privilege of meeting with the Queen more than a dozen times. The Queen was a Christian, but sought to know Jesus better, so she would invite Billy Graham and his wife Ruth to Buckingham Palace. During one of those meetings, the Queen asked who else might she seek personal counsel in her faith in Christ. Billy Graham had suggested she consult with John Stott.
This information comes from an amazing 99-year-old blogger named James M. Houston. James is the father of a lady named Claire Taylor whom my wife Lynne and I both know. James Houston was one of the founding fathers and the first principal of Regent College, which was formed in Vancouver in 1968. It was the first graduate school of theology in North America to make education of the laity its focus. James Houston also was a good friend of the late John Stott, who was invited to teach at the school frequently. In his latest article “Letters from a Hospital Bed #44: Reflections from a 99-Year-Old“, James Houston mentions that for a time John Stott “was an advisor to the Queen in knowing Christ more personally. The Queen wanted to know Jesus better and set out to do so. Such an inquiry changed her life of faith”.
Through lots of study people become experts in different fields. Doctors, lawyers. And even car part professionals to assist police departments. John Stott, through a lifetime of study of the Word was an expert in knowing Christ more personally. It has been said that he could take the most complex theology and present it in a way that anyone could understand. He wrote over 50 books, including his most well-known, “Basic Christianity”. May God instill in each of us a hunger to know Jesus Christ more personally, like that of Queen Elizabeth 2nd.
Most households have some kind of tradition at Christmas. For me growing up before the internet or even video recorders it meant complete silence while my mom watched the Queen’s Christmas message each year on television. As a child it felt like torture to be completely silent on Christmas Day. My Mom died in 2012, and I really miss watching her as she listened to every word with such intense emotion. Both my mom and Queen Elizabeth are now together worshipping Jesus in Heaven. I’m not sure if the Queen will give a Christmas this year in Heaven. If she does, my mom will be right there hanging onto every word. This is an excerpt from the 2016 Christmas message from the Queen. A seven-minute address spoken when the Queen was 90 years old. “Jesus Christ lived obscurely for most of his life, and never travelled far. He was maligned and rejected by many, though he had done no wrong. And yet, billions of people now follow his teaching and find him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.”