Crown Him King
I was intrigued to learn that ‘Coronavirus’ comes from the Latin word for ‘crown’. It was chosen by scientists as the protein of the virus has jagged edges and gives the virus the appearance of a crown. As a Welsh speaker I was fascinated by this as ‘Corona’ is Welsh for the verb ‘to crown’.
The Bible uses the picture of a crown in various ways but the most significant is as a symbol of authority and kingship: the one who wears the crown is supreme. We are introduced to the Son of Man in Daniel 7 and in Revelation 14 he appears again with a crown of gold on his head. It is no wonder that Jesus so often referred to Himself as the Son of Man. He is the true King and Son of David, having come to establish an eternal kingdom. This is encapsulated so wonderfully by Matthew Bridges’ hymn:
Crown Him with many crowns, The Lamb upon His throne...
I’m sure we’ve all been encouraged to search our hearts during this unique time in our lives: Who is the Lord of our lives?; Do we continue to crown Him with many crowns, or has the Coronavirus taken over our hearts and minds?
How can we continue to glorify and hail the name of Jesus? Here are some thoughts to encourage further reflection and prayer:
1. Worship the King
At the beginning of his book Habakkuk has two complaints against God and it is difficult to think of more serious accusations (Habakkuk 1: 2, 13). By the grace of God, Habakkuk learns about His character and by the end of the book he is patiently waiting on God’s promises. I wonder if we are slower to learn? The enemy delights in hearing God's people belittling the character of God. We need to remember that 'there is no darkness in God' and ‘He does not change like shifting shadows.’ (1 John 1: 5, James 1:17). ‘The Lord is good and His love endures forever’ (Psalm 100: 5). We will exalt Jesus' name during this crisis by emphasizing His goodness and righteousness and not rushing to simplistic statements about his purposes.
2. Trust the King
Perhaps the most obvious way Covid-19 can capture our hearts is by stealing our peace. Anxiety for loved ones, and uncertainty about the future, are natural emotions for the Christian too, but we have the greatest antidote: to pray and look to the unchanging promises of God. ‘Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ (Matthew 6:34). Perhaps this situation is an opportunity for us to remember that leaning on the Lord and turning to Him in prayer, rather than just people or activity, is the most fundamental answer to our needs. See also Philippians 4:6.
3. Love the King's people
Do you appreciate the fellowship of God's people more than ever as a result of this crisis? Although we are absent in the body we can be together in spirit and through technology. It has been heartening seeing churches all over the world coming together and learning new technological skills so that they can continue to worship God and maintain fellowship; ‘not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching’ (Hebrews 10:25). Covid-19 does not have to destroy fellowship. We can continue to worship our King by committing to phoning each other regularly, overcoming the technical barriers so that we meet regularly as God's family of all ages, and by loving one another through prayer and in various practical ways.
4. Live out the values of the Kingdom
We see God’s common grace in the selflessness of key workers and the willingness of society to pull together to protect our neighbours; but we can glorify our King by going the extra mile and being salt and light. ‘The last will be first, and the first will be last’ is one of the most fundamental values of the kingdom according to Matthew 20:16. The tendency in any crisis is to put on the blinkers or grow weary of doing good. We can demonstrate the loving character of God by ensuring that there are no needy ones among us, and by humbly loving our neighbours today, and after the lockdown is lifted.
5. Long for the Eternal Kingdom
We are longing for the return of normality. We want to return to church and to the beach and the mountains and Costa; and to embrace our parents and children and loved ones. Jesus encouraged us to pray for our daily bread - the cares and pleasures of the world are not insignificant - however as we long for our normal lives to return, let us develop a greater perspective on life and long more than ever for the new heaven and earth. Jesus told us to ‘store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.’ (Matthew 6:20). This is the place where ‘God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.’ (Revelation 21:3-4)
6. Work and pray for the growth of the Kingdom
You are probably in social groups who share regular prayer points for those affected by the virus. We rightly make our requests known to our Father who feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lily of the field. But let us ‘seek first His kingdom and His righteousness' (Matthew 6:33). I wonder if we have such a burden for the spiritual condition of our loved ones and neighbours who belong to the kingdom of darkness? We will recognize the kingship of Jesus when we remember that the greatest need of every person is eternal life, peace with God and forgiveness of sins.
7. Listen to the King
I wonder if you are starting to discern the lessons that God is personally teaching you through this? James says that we can rejoice when we face trials of many kinds because the ‘testing of your faith produces perseverance’ (James 1:2-3). Are we listening to the King as he speaks to us through the Word and Spirit and our circumstances? As King and Shepherd, Jesus is drawing us closer to Him and His Father and to green pastures and quiet waters. We can know that we are crowning Him as Lord when we are taking note of His silent words and committing to obeying and worshipping Him today - and when Covid-19, like all enemies and idols, will have been conquered and consigned to history.
Steffan Jones (Pontardawe)