Although it is wonderful when churches in the United States embrace a diverse population, most of those who attend churches in the United States are American. And for the most part, Americans exhibit a political DNA that is characterized by a disregard of and even a disdain for monarchies. The concept of royalty offends our sense of democracy. And yet as demonstrated by the U.S. news coverage of the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, we remain fascinated by royalty in general and by the doings of royals in particular. The most recent royal wedding generated a re-publication of a piece about royal rules. Did you know that Royals are not allowed to vote or speak publicly about matter of policy? Royals are not allowed to eat shellfish. Neither may they take selfies or use social media. Public dress is always formal and modest, and they are expected to behave with the utmost decorum at all times.
What Christians in the United States often fail to remember is that we cannot avoid the royalty thing. We are sons and daughter of God Almighty, brothers and sisters of His Son, Jesus Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. Unlike Great Britain’s monarchy, we will enjoy are regal position for all eternity.
Eternity is a long time; our time on this earth is not. But while our time on earth is limited, it is extremely significant. We are being sanctified, being made fit and ready for heaven. And as children of the King, we are called to make disciples of all men, to practice the kingdom of God as we live among non-believers. It is not a duty; it is a privilege to share our life-giving and life-defining faith.
So, this is where we intersect with the British royals. It matters what we do: how we behave, the choices we make, the way we interact with others. People are watching. We are ambassadors for Christ in a way that is not so unlike the way British royals are ambassadors for Great Britain. The rules imposed on the royals are important, not as an end in themselves, but in order to equip them to do their work well. If being a royal was merely a matter of diet, social norms, and polite conversation, members of the royal family would become stick figures with no ability to impact others and the world. Likewise, our Lord has issued commandments, not so that we would earn our salvation and not to define our faith, but in order to teach us and help us to share His nature, to equip us to proclaim Christ in the way we live our lives and love others. If we were to make our Christian faith about rules, we, too, would become two-dimensional and unable to live out our faith in love. Rules alone will not do it. But if we try another popular tactic and merely try to avoid offending others, the salt of the Gospel would become diluted and ineffective. Nice will not do it, either. We are called to be salt and light to a very fallen world by proclaiming the grace and truth of Christ and touching others with a living, loving faith.
Where does this leave us? As children of the Almighty and Everlasting King, we are royalty. Like our earthly cousins the British royals, we are always on display. It matters what we do and what we say. Our King has commanded us to proclaim His kingdom: His truth and grace, by and with the power of His love. He has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit to equip, enable, and empower us to do just that. But we not bound to the rigid existence of our world’s kings and queens, princes and princesses. This is not a matter of license or of carelessness. It is about looking behind and beyond the rules to become men and women after God’s own heart so that we may go about the business of proclaiming Christ in freedom and great joy.