I’ve never experienced a day like Saturday, October 6th. That was the day I received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. For a guy who likes to be able to extrapolate from life verbally and on the page, I’ve found myself without the proper words to describe what receiving it felt like. I honestly don’t know where I’ll be able to wear this medal, but my Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Information and Wearing Guide seems to indicate that there are “With Decoration” parties that I now qualify to attend. I’m not sure what we’ll do there, but I bet it’ll be awesome!
I’m not alone in receiving this honor; 60,000 Canadians were decorated with this medal as a way to “mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada…a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country.” It also “serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.”
When I think about what my Grandfather’s war medals from the Queen meant to him and the subsequent generations of my family, I know that this token will forever speak to my kids of the value of community service done as unto our God.
For most of my years on this planet, I didn’t understand the “Royal” thing. I couldn’t imagine why our independent nation was hanging on to an “archaic” monarchy setup. It’s not that I didn’t LIKE the Queen, I just didn’t get her. We didn’t have much in common. My whole life I’ve considered most things bunk until proven otherwise. Faith is not my default setting. Often this insistence has proven prophetic; sadly, or maybe thankfully, just as often, if not more often, it’s caused me to admit and accept my haste and self-centered bent when proven wrong.
A couple of years ago I began to talk extensively about honoring our leaders. I believe that, even when it’s not easy because we don’t understand their logic or their rationale, it’s still a Godly principle. Give Romans 13 a quick peruse and convince me otherwise.
As often happens, truth and principle confronted my current self. I realized that I am a subject of Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories: Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. And if I’m called to honor her, I need to honor her.
In fact, it was in her name, “to the Glory of God through the service of youth” that my children’s school, Princess Elizabeth, was dedicated. So, quietly and humbly, I internally subjected myself to her majesty. It changed me and freed me. During the Olympics this summer, I actually teared up a bit during God Save the Queen on a Friday night before going to serve food to the poor. I left my home that night wanting to honor my God and Queen, a vast change from years before. The Queen’s Annual Christmas addresses have been very moving to me. Last year she encouraged us by saying, “although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves–from our recklessness or our greed. God sent into the world a unique person–neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.”
On October 6th, I was the youngest person on the stage by about 20 years, which was an incredible honor. My brother, who joined my family and friends in the Sanderson Centre crowd, joked that I’ve always wanted to be much older than I am, so my dream had finally come true. “You’re with your people Dave,” he joked. But, to be honest, I did love that part! I loved it because I was sitting with war veterans, philanthropists, and international-impact missionary heroes. These were respectable men and women of distinction who have guided millions in non-profit funding, carved out minor sports pathways, and are fatherly cultural prophets.
More than any other thing, my preeminent thought about this medal is that it is “as unto the Lord”. Remember in Forrest Gump, when Forrest gave Jenny his medal and said that he only got it because he was doing what Jenny told him to do when he left for Vietnam? That’s what this feels like to me. I’m extraordinarily flattered by it all, but I’m just doing what I fundamentally believe a Christian is supposed to be doing. I haven’t always been like this; I was a jaded, selfish, verbal bully who didn’t want any part of our society–really, really. The difference has been due to nothing less than a spiritual rebirth through Christ–really, really. I wouldn’t BS you about something this important for the sake of propagating someone else’s agenda. When I made that decision, I knew that life had to be about others, and anything less than that would be selling the mandate of the Christian short. I’ll have no part in such a self-centered and ultimately empty charade.
The Biblical “Matthew” was a tax collector for the Roman Empire who gave up greed to follow a distinctly abnormal man who challenged what life was “about”. He quoted Christ as saying these powerful words, which still hold so much weight in modern life…
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”
There is so much life to live and to share.