In his sermon the Right Reverend Richard Chartres said: “After the storm of a life led in the heat of political controversy, there is a great calm.” And that was the mood and atmosphere of the service at St Paul’s Cathedral, conducted with dignity, as any funeral should. And there was very little disruption of note in the city.
I thought the Bishop of London did a very meaningful and diplomatic sermon for the funeral considering the divided feelings in the country over Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as Prime Minister. She was the first woman Prime Minister and the longest serving for over 150 years. But, we are not immortal. Whatever our station in life, death is the great leveler. Said the bishop, “Today the remains of the real Margaret Hilda Thatcher are here at her funeral service.” “Lying here, she is one of us, subject to the common destiny of all human beings.” And so the appropriateness of the first reading chosen by Margaret Thatcher and read by Prime Minister, David Cameron; John 14:1-6 in the King James Version:
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
“The natural cycle leads inevitably to decay,” said Bishop Chartres, “but the dominant note of a Christian funeral service, after the sorrow and the memories, is hope.”
He did not give any biblical definitions of this hope, but the Apostle Paul called it “‘the blessed hope’ – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” When facing his own demise that was the apostle’s own assurance of his future. Death is not the end; the Bible calls it, ‘sleep’. Because of what Jesus has done death is to be swallowed up in victory. It will all take place at the Second Advent of Jesus.
When Christians celebrate the Lord’s Supper or the Communion Service the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:26 that, whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. The First Advent was to secure salvation for all who choose to believe in Jesus. The Second Advent is to keep that promise read by David Cameron from John 14:1-6.
For the Bishop of London’s sermon in full for Baroness Thatcher, click here: