All this Prince William and his fiance nonsense is getting me down. We’re so obsessed with royalty in this country, which is strange, you know, for a country that specifically prides itself in the fact that we don’t answer to a crown? Anyway, this morning on the news, I heard about the date finally being set for the royal nuptials, yesterday, I read an article about the engagement ring, before that it was when will he propose, before that it was …. you get the idea. It’s so pathetic, that we care about the wedding details of some Prince 2nd in line to a throne, a seat of power across an ocean, but can’t be bothered to find out about someone’s voting record in our own state before electing them governor or senator.
Of course, what really upsets me in all of this is that it is the end of an era, the era in which I had a secret dream that Prince William would be vacationing in Texas, meet me, fall madly in love and say “forget duty and tradition – I’m going to marry that smart American chick,” in a smooth British accent, of course. Maybe we’re obsessed with royalty because we want to BE royalty. Even if we loathe and despise the monarchy, we still imagine how nice it would be to have that obscene amount of wealth, clout, deference, even, bestowed upon us by virtue of our birth or sheer luck.
Prince Harry has the best of all possible worlds, it seems. He’s affectionately known as “the spare.” Prince William is the heir, as he will inherit the kingdom someday, most likely, and the line of succession will continue through his children, but Prince Harry gets to be royal, with all the money and privilege that brings, without the responsibility for the potential downfall of the monarchy on his shoulders. He’s the spare with all the perks of an heir. His title is still an inheritance, as are his bank accounts, homes, stables, etc. His children would still be princes and princesses. He’s set.
This week in church was the celebration of Christ the King, revering Jesus as King. Lynette Bartel, in her sermon on Sunday, reminded us that this liturgical cycle has us read about Christ the King on the cross the week before we start thinking of him coming as a babe, innocent into the world, in a little town called Bethlehem. How odd! How backward! However, it illustrates that Christ is the heir to the kingdom. He was born a King, not a prince. How often does that happen? He is the heir to the promises, riches, wonders of heaven and earth.
We are the spares, like Prince Harry, who have access to all the promises, riches and wonders of heaven and earth along with Christ Jesus. How is that possible? It’s possible because the Bible tells us that we are co-heirs with Christ. Romans 8:17 says “Now, if we are children [of God], we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Heirs are usually subject to some provisos in order to claim their inheritance. It might be coming-of-age, pursuing an education, earmarking the funds for a certain purpose, marriage, death of their parent, etc. There might be some sort of ceremony, legal hearing or coronation to commemorate the inheritance. We see those things at work in the 2nd part of that verse, “if indeed we share in his sufferings…
We would like to be spares who get all the glory without the sufferings… that would be the ideal situation, but those are the terms of our trust. We cannot inherit without the sacrifice. We have to take up our cross and follow Jesus in order to gain the kingdom. Here’s the best part, though: In exchange, we get to be a spare with all the perks of an heir. Jesus Christ is King, but our inheritance is not diminished in any way. Jesus told his disciples in John 17:10 “All I have is yours and all you have is mine…” The heir shares with the spares, and, in turn, the spares share in the glory of the heir.
What perks have you received this week as a result of being a spare and co-heir?