Being in the inner-city, the congregation was small, as many people take the opportunity to go away on such occasions. But we still had some facinating memories from people who could remember the events of 1952. One gentleman in our congregation received, along with all his schoolmates, a goldfish in a plastic bag as a momento of the occasion. That wouldn't happen today! The most common memory was crowding round the neighbour's televison set, seeing a flickering image on a 9 inch set, although some also remembered the news of the queen's accession being shown in the cinema. A fascinating reminder of how times have changed, and indeed how much change the older members our congregation have been through.
Anyway this is the sermon that I preached...
The world has changed so much since 1952. Back then in 1952 I don’t think anyone would have ever imagined that one day we could fly people to the moon, or perform heart transplants, or genetically modify living organisms. If there was such thing as a computer, only a few people would have known exactly what it was – a huge machine with valves that filled a whole room. The web would have been something a spider spun and Spam was definitely something eaten out of a tin. It's not for me – a young whippet born in 1967 – to judge whether 1952 was better or worse than 2012. It was just a different time, in a different century, where the world looked a different kind of place.
But some things have remained the same. Or rather, one person has stayed the same. In an age of rapid, sometimes almost bewildering change, the monarchy has carried on. It has survived times of crisis, it has continued to offer stability to the British people, and at its helm the Queen has quietly steered the ship of state. There really is so much to be thankful for today, and it is right that we honour and pray for our gracious Sovereign, Elizabeth the Second.
And for us, who call ourselves Christians, there is particular reason to rejoice as we worship today. For, through all the many challenges that she has faced, our Majesty has retained a deep and living Christian faith. If you want any proof of this, let me quote the ending of her Christmas speech last year: