A Symbol of Humility
Celebrity culture notices humility right away. Humility that sets aside privileged status and joins the crowd to respect and honour a life well lived. Recently, soccer star David Beckham stood in line for 12+ hours with thousands of commoners to bow his head before the decorated casket of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall.
What compelled David Beckham to resist calling any number of significant people that would help him bypass the miles long queue? He was knighted by the Queen and knew who to call for quick and easy access. Instead, David Beckham chose to represent the guiding principle of humility that we all admire.
A Symbol of Humble Service
In her death Queen Elizabeth II is being celebrated with heart felt tributes from world leaders, staff, friends, family, and global citizens. Many are complimenting her character. She possessed the capacity to unite a fractured and politically divided society. She willingly submitted her life to destiny, devoting all her heart in service to her country and commonwealth for the best interests of its citizens. As a Sovereign Monarch, Queen Elizabeth symbolizes a life of humble service.
A Symbol of Unity
As Sovereign Monarch and head of the Church of England she also humbled herself under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. She often shared how her deep Christian faith guided her life. In particular, the way Jesus’ teachings guided her diplomacy to successfully transition 7 countries of the British Empire into The Commonwealth of 56 ‘self-governed’ nations. She possessed divine wisdom exercising her faith into tangible results benefiting 5.6 billion people around the world. In contrast, a leader whose heart is not set on serving others would have an impossible task navigating post colonialism forward into voluntary unity.
A Symbol of Submission to God
Her life symbolizes a life submitted to the character, wisdom, and ways of God. As a follower of Jesus, Queen Elizabeth humbled herself to a purpose outside herself. Humble submission that is clearly defined by Christ Jesus, who is the ultimate example of genuine love, that generously gave himself for the benefit of all humanity. Instead of using his ultimate authority and riches for self aggrandizement, Jesus impoverished himself, in an act of generous grace, to make it possible for all humanity to be united equally into his divine riches.
Symbols of Submitted Christian Lives
Queen Elizabeth II and David Beckham in their own unique way symbolize and represent the way of ‘Christ-like’ humility. Jesus’ faithful submission inaugurated the Kingdom of God where all people are united and living in a love that expresses itself in generosity for another’s well being. Queen Elizabeth’s Commonwealth and leadership symbolize these characteristics of Christian community.
When David Beckham joined everyone else without exercising the privileges of his elevated social status, he showed us what it looks like to live a Christian life. A life that follows Jesus’ example of emptying himself of power and privilege to take a knee and bow, in humble reverence with crowds of commoners.
In a divided world of hyper self-focus, we need symbolic Christian lives to remind us that the Kingdom of God is not like the empires of the world. And that Jesus came to transform human leadership and lives. Nations and citizens marked by Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, shine God’s generous grace through sacrificial love in service to God and others. A millennia-long pillar of western civilization that we cannot afford to lose. To remove it would be like taking flour out of bread.