Have you ever worn a crown? Maybe a small tiara for a prom or wedding, or it might have been a full-bodied crown if you won a pageant? Maybe your “crowning” moment was a medal or trophy in an academic or athletic competition, or even a participation medallion on a youth sports team. It felt good, didn’t it? Achievement. Recognition. Reward.
Maybe that’s never been your experience. Instead, you gazed with awe at the sparkling crown placed upon the head of a beautiful Miss America and wondered what it would feel like to be recognized, to be appreciated, to be applauded, to win at something…anything…just once. You might even stand up or sit up a little straighter just thinking about it. Or, you might lean more toward despair, believing it’s not possible that anything like that would ever be your reality.
What comes to mind first for me when thinking about a crown is royalty. I’ve had a fascination for most of my adult life with Russian history. The massive wealth and privilege of the Romanovs is unfathomable. I can’t begin to imagine the thousands of crowns jewels (and their worth!) owned by the ruling dynasties. Then, of course, there’s Queen Elizabeth II, the only ruling British monarch some of us have ever known. In 1952, she ascended to the throne and in 2015 earned the distinction of becoming the longest reigning monarch in England’s history. When I read her biography by Sally Bedell Smith a few years ago, I was amazed at how much consideration went into selecting the perfect crown jewels for each occasion. Dressing the part is a huge aspect of representing a county, and jewels and crown are the primary symbol of esteem, distinction, honor and dignity.
Psalms 103:4 says, “He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.” Don’t let that thought slip away too quickly. He – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Creator of the Universe -- crowns me. He adorns me, covers me with love and tender mercy.
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalms 8. After declaring God’s majesty and excellence, the psalmist ponders man’s place in the universe.
(3) I often think of the heavens your hands have made, and of the moon and stars you put in place. (4) Then I ask, “Why do you care about us humans? Why are you concerned for us weaklings?” (5) You made us a little lower than you yourself, and you have crowned us with glory and honor. (CEV)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been able to think about God’s majesty or holiness without thinking about the flip side of that coin, how unworthy I am of his affection and how totally incredible it is that he would think about us, much less love us and desire relationship with us to the point of taking extreme measures to make that possible. My mind gets overwhelmed very quickly when I try to make sense of that. But, that’s the thing, God’s love for us is not sensible. It’s not logical, it’s not explainable, it’s not justifiable or defendable. It’s just too big and too perfect for anything we can understand or explain. That’s where faith comes in. Even through we can’t understand it, we can accept what God says is true. That means we accept that what he says about us is true. He crowns me with glory and honor. Glory and honor. Those aren’t traits I can manufacture for myself. They can only come from a creator who loves perfectly and unfailingly because of who he is.
Ultimately, as his people, we sparkle like a crown in his hand (Isaiah 62:3 and Zechariah 9:16) and he, the Lord Almighty is a glorious crown for his people. (Isaiah 28:5). He crowns us with himself. He is our dignity, our honor, our adornment, our reward, our victory. My favorite definition for crowned is completed. That’s the most beautiful image of all. Because he says I am crowned, I am completed. I don’t have anything else to earn, anything else to prove. That’s a crown I’m happy to wear.
Scripture from New Living Translation unless otherwise noted.
Photo: Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement in Southside, TN