“Corona” comes from crown: who’s actually King?
I pray this finds you all well given all the changes we’re facing. I have been praying the evening prayer:
“Be present, O merciful God, … protect us so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
I find it fascinating that the Coronavirus is so named because under a microscope the virus looks like a crown. There are constant contenders for the throne of God’s Kingdom. As Christians we know there is a real King with a crown – Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The Kingdom of God is indeed at hand because the King has arrived! As I’ve written before, the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who has the scrolls of history in his hands and knows us by name. Even though Jesus is God’s King who sits on the throne, we do see ‘wannabe’ competitors to the Crown constantly – the Coronavirus is only one. The writer to the Hebrews puts it aptly, “Now in putting everything in subjection to [Jesus], he left nothing outside of his control. At present we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.” Isn’t that the truth! There are pretender crowns and kings all over the place. Coronavirus is one, I am all too often one and I suspect I’m not alone. I am reminded of the words of the general confession in the Anglican Prayer Book,
“Almighty and most merciful Father, we have strayed from your ways like lost sheep, we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, we have offended against your holy laws.”
When I follow the devices and desires of my own heart, I am pretending that I have Jesus’ crown on my own head. This image helps me remember what sin is. How good it is that the Crown is already being worn by the God’s son, the Lord Jesus Christ! The one who forgives those who repent, take their false crowns off and put them back in their rightful place – on the head of Christ. The elders in Revelation 4 do this: “They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev 4:10-11)
Ultimately we need to remember that these crown pretenders – the Coronavirus, and many other ‘crowns’ though they pretend to hold the world in their hands, they don’t. It has been allowed to thrive by the Lord Jesus himself so that God’s good and perfect purposes might be fulfilled. We see this clearly in the book of Job.
God gives permission for Satan to inflict Job. God says, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him, do not stretch out your hand.” As you know, the Satan is trying to prove that the only reason why Job worships God is because God has blessed him with earthly health, wealth and success. Take Job’s health, wealth and success away and surely Job will curse God! (1:9) The good purpose for which God allows Job to suffer is to prove that God is God. If Job worships God because of earthly health, wealth and success, then health, wealth and success are Job’s god! God will not share his glory with health, wealth and success or any other pretender to the throne and so he allows Satan to take them away. The consequence? Job suffers terribly, but according to God’s instructions for satan, Job never loses his life. Did Job worship God because of what God gave him? No! He worshipped God even after he had lost everything! He bends the knee again – and acknowledges God to be God: “…I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes have seen you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6)
We know that eventually in the new creation Jesus will have removed this pretender crown: “He will wipe away every tear from [his people’s] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, not crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making everything new”. Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev 21:4)
Jesus wears the crown and our hope is sure! Let’s be a people who are diligent about loving our neighbours in this time of crisis, while we acknowledge Christ the King as our Lord and God.