Wednesday, May 10, 2023

‘King of kings’

On Saturday 6 May millions of us watched on TV as His Majesty King Charles III was crowned in Westminster Abbey. The Coronation Service was rich in ceremony and symbolism. The Archbishop of Canterbury anointed the king with oil and placed St Edward’s crown upon his head. The newly crowned King Charles III was given the ceremonial Orb and Sceptre, tokens of his royal power.  
Much of the symbolism associated with the Coronation was drawn from the Christian faith. The anointing recalls that kings in the Old Testament period were anointed with oil to symbolise that they were empowered for their role by the Spirit of the Lord. The Hebrew word ‘Messiah’ means ‘Anointed One’. The Greek equivalent is ‘Christ’.  St Edward’s crown, the Orb and Sceptre all feature crosses as a reminder that earthly rulers are subject to a greater King, Jesus.  
As the firstborn son of  Queen Elizabeth II, Charles was born to be King, although he only assumed that title on his mother’s death. Similarly, Jesus was born to rule. The angel of the Lord told Mary, Jesus’ mother, that her Son would sit upon the throne of his royal ancestor, David. When Jesus was born wise men from the East sought out the infant King of the Jews and brought him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Yet when the Lord Jesus Christ was crowned on earth it was not with a jewel encrusted crown of gold, but with a crown of thorns in preparation for his crucifixion. ‘Behold your King!’ said Pontius Pilate of Jesus, the man he had condemned to die. Jesus could have used the power by which he calmed the waves and healed the sick to avoid the suffering and shame of the cross, but he did not. Jesus came to die in the place of sinners that we may be forgiven and be reconciled to God. His lifeless body was taken from the cross and laid in a borrowed tomb, which is where it remained until Easter Sunday morning when God raised his Son from the dead.
Forty days later Jesus ascended to heaven to assume his place at the right hand of God the Father. That was his Coronation Day, when Jesus was crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. He is exalted far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. King Jesus offers his royal pardon to all who will come in faith and bow the knee before his throne.

*For May edition of various local parish mags