By BRIDGET IKYADO
ABUJA- The Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, has described the late Queen Elizabeth II of England as a defender of the Protestant faith, whose entire life was guided by her belief in Jesus Christ.
The Primate made the declaration in his sermon at a Service of Remembrance for the Queen, held at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Abuja.
He said that her messages always demonstrated her personal commitment to the rich inheritance of faith in the living God, convictions on marriage, morality and the dignity of human life, as rooted in the Scriptures.
The Archbishop said in spite of her deep convictions in Christ, the Queen accommodated and respected other faiths and people.
In the special service attended by members of the House of Bishops, clergy and laity of the Church, Ndukuba recalled her publicly declared devotion to Jesus Christ at her accession to the throne, 70 years ago.
He said: “At her coronation when she processed into the Church, she first went to the high altar to kneel in prayer and personally surrendered her life to the Almighty God before she came down to the pomp and pageantry of the coronation.
“Her message of Aug. 3, 2022 expressed this clearly when she said ‘throughout my life the message and teachings of Christ have been my guide and in them, find hope.”
The Archbishop added that the Queen had ran a good race in faith and life till the end.
“If Christ and the word of God be her hope then there is the great and glorious reward of the crown of righteousness that awaits her,” he added.
The Primate, who based his exhortation from 2nd Timothy 4: 6-8, said ” like Saint Paul the Apostle, the Queen would be remembered as the monarch whose life was spent purposefully in the service of God and her people.”
Reflecting on her life and numerous charities that touched many indigent people, the Primate said “like Paul, she was poured out in the very service she was called.
“As a young princess, she pledged to spend her whole life serving the people whether that life be long or short.
“Indeed, God blessed her with longevity and she was a hallmark of humble, patient and dedicated service to the citizens of Britain and the whole world.
”Till the very last breath of her life, she remained resolute in her service”.
“Queen Elizabeth II was a steadfast consistent guide to Britain, the Commonwealth and to world leaders in the most difficult periods of history, wars, economic recessions and political instabilities.”
He also described her as a guiding light and a measure of stability, who was always calm and unruffled by challenges, whether personal, national or international.
“She lived a purposeful and fulfilled life of service to her Kingdom and to the world,” the clergy added.
The Nigerian Anglican leader said that her reign witnessed the transition from colonial rule to the independence and nationhood of many nations under the British Empire.
“She wisely brought to birth those nations. As a mother, she was able to constitute them into a Commonwealth of Nations that has remained a strong bloc of nations contributing to world peace,” he added.
Ndukuba used the occasion to remind Christians of life beyond this world, the second coming of Jesus Christ, eternal judgment and reward.
Reading from Psalms 39: 4-6, 90:10 and 1 Peter 1:24, the Archbishop reminded Christians of ”the inevitability of death.
“The real issue is where shall you be when this life is ended. Hebrews 9 verse 27 says ‘it is appointed for men to die once but after this comes the judgment of God.”
He prayed that “God will raise the beloved Queen Elizabeth II at the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Liang, who led members of staff of the Commission to the Service, thanked the Primate and the Church for honouring the late Queen and identifying with the people of the United Kingdom in their period of mourning.
“We share a common heritage in the Anglican faith and as we heard in the sermon, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II was the defender of that faith,” she said.
The High Commissioner recounted her previous audiences with the Queen as her representative to Nigeria, where she spoke so fondly of her two visits to Nigeria in 1956 and 2003.
“King Charles III also has great interests in Nigeria, has visited and will visit again,” she said.
The Archbishop of Jos Province and Bishop of Yola Diocese, Markus Ibrahim, and Bishop Stephen Fagbemi of Owo Diocese, led intercessory prayers for the new King and the late Queen.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Cathedral’s choir ministered in hymns and a special anthem, “His Eyes are on the Sparrow.”(NAN)