Crown him with many crowns
‘Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.’ James 1:12 (NIVUK)
We’ve all seen numerous coronavirus jokes devised to boost our spirits in unsteady times. One of my favourites is the one in which the poor, lonely and isolated bottle of Corona beer is shunned by a crowd of bottles of another brand at the opposite end of the shopping trolley. It occurred to me that this virus which, despite attempts at levity, is causing greater fear and restlessness than the developed world has seen in quite some time, has a name which can help us focus on the source of our hope.
‘Corona’, some will know, comes from the Latin meaning ‘crown’, or ‘garland’. In Roman days, honour was bestowed on government leaders and victors of military battles and sport, for example, by placing a crown on their head or around their neck. The family of viruses taking this name have little spikes on them which, seen under an electron microscope, look something like those on a ceremonial crown crafted from precious metal. These images, which most of us have seen, are actually fascinating and beautiful.
The spikes on the other hand, remind us of the thorny crown Jesus was forced to wear in mockery of his mission, as he carried his cross and was hung on it to die, undeservedly. People in power failed to uplift him as the king that he was, and instead lifted him up, literally, into the unparalleled suffering and death of a criminal.
Despite the cruelty and randomness of the times, the power of God worked through the heinous circumstances to bring nothing less than abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven for those who saw then, and those of us who see now, what He was accomplishing. The beaten, betrayed man, who had no way out of his suffering, was in fact the way into our healing and our hope. Real hope for today, the weeks and months to come, and hope for eternity, when there will be no sickness, no suffering, and we will sit with King Jesus, crowned and sharing in his glory!
Suggested further reading: Matthew 27:29 and 2 Timothy 4:8
Suggested worship music
Once Again (Thank You for the Cross)
Father God, true King of all Creation, we thank you that your reign is righteous, all-powerful and reaches deep into eternity. We thank you that you already have a place for us there with you because of the humility of Jesus. We are grateful that you provide succour in these days, your Kingdom breaking through with flashes of beauty to touch our brokenness.
Forgive us our impatience, for not always seeking how to live out your plan for reconciling humankind and the earth. Fill us with wisdom that helps us transcend the ‘right now’ to understand your heart for your world. For the sake of the resurrected Christ Jesus who suffered brokenness on the cross for our sake, and reigns with You in glory. Amen
Laura Simpkins, discipleship coordinator