This weekend has made me proud to be British. I’ve often thought that we’re not, generally speaking, very patriotic in Britain. We don’t seem to take pride in our country and I’ve never heard any Brits say that they love the motherland (or fatherland, if you prefer), like other nationalities do. But this weekend, I’ve been proved wrong: we do love our country and we are proud to be citizens of it.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing the pageantry (no one does pomp and ceremony quite like us!) as the country has excelled itself in celebrating Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Diamond Jubilee. From the pageant on the Thames of 1,000 vessels, to the huge open air concert outside Buckingham Palace, to the climax of the Thankgiving Service in St Paul’s followed by the Balcony Appearance and Fly Past, we have revelled in three exciting days of celebration.
But I couldn’t help but think that, proud as I am to be British, I’m much prouder (in a non-arrogant sense) to be a citizen of Heaven. I’m so excited that when I asked Jesus to be my saviour and Lord some thirty odd years ago, I was immediately adopted by His Dad and became a citizen of Heaven. Heaven is real and it’s where I absolutely belong, and one day I’m going there. Paul (an apostle in the Bible) prayed that we would know the hope we’ve been called to – it’s not hope as in ‘I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow’ but this hope is a sure fact that will happen. God wants us to rejoice in the hope He has given us – of citizenship in Heaven.
Forget British pomp and pageantry, a feast for the eyes though it is. When it comes to Heaven it’s all about glory, God’s glory, and that will be a feast for our souls!
Whenever Queen Elizabeth entered or departed from a building, her arrival or departure was announced by trumpets. This definitely added to the sense of occasion and warned everyone that she was about to arrive or depart. This so reminded me of Jesus. The Bible promises that Jesus is going to come back one day, and the first we’ll know about it is the sounding of a trumpet. When Jesus returns, He’ll be both arriving and departing – arriving here to judge the world and bring rewards with Him, and departing from Heaven along with all its armies. Why are Heaven’s armies needed? Because that will be the great day of judgement. Jesus will be seen by everyone who has ever lived as the glorious King of Kings (even if they spent their whole lives denying His existence). Even the deaf will hear His trumpet call and the dead will actually be raised to life! No one will be allowed to miss the greatest event this world has ever or will ever see.
Jesus has promised that He will bring rewards with Him, for those who love Him and are faithful to Him. At the end of the Jubilee Concert on Monday evening, Prince Charles publicly thanked Gary Barlow by name for all his hard work – and rightly so. But I got goose bumps imagining what it will be like for Jesus to publicly acknowledge us by name when He comes again? He will do this, whether we are famous in His service or insignificant. Every single believer is deeply and intimately loved by Jesus. Don’t worry, if like me you’re a bit shy, because when Jesus comes again you WILL NOT BE OVERLOOKED. There’s no way He’ll let you blend in with the crowd. You’re precious to Him and He will make sure that you know that with every fibre of your (brand-new heavenly) being!
However, if you’re not a believer, Jesus is coming as Judge. And that will be utterly terrifying. Make sure you get right with Him before that happens.
Queen Elizabeth has seen twelve Prime Ministers come and go during her sixty year reign. She has remained constant and faithful throughout. But one day, her reign will end. But Jesus is a magnificent King who is also constant and faithful, and His reign will never end!