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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.



All these years and I never noticed.

At the top of my scraggly, front yard pine is a plethora of cones.  I couldn’t tell you how long this vibrant crown has been there, because I don’t remember looking before.  It’s a remarkable sight, though -- all those seed packets crowded at the top of a tree that’s thinning from the ground up.  A very productive final stage!

It has me thinking about crowns.  And about what one I should be wearing at this stage of my life.

Crowns, in Scripture, represent honor or blessing bestowed upon someone.  Obviously, kings bear them as a symbol of their exalted status.  But it’s not just kings who are so adorned.   Proverbs 10:6 adds that “Blessings crown the head of the righteous.”  That blessing can come in surprising forms – like gray hair (Prov. 16:31) and grandchildren (Prov. 17:6).  Interestingly, both are connected to one’s latter years.  (Maybe the two are linked.  Depends on the grandchildren!)

Crowns can be bestowed even farther down the road.  The “crown of life” is promised to those whose love for God perseveres through trial. (James 1:2; Rev.2:10).   Heaven seems to overflow with shining headwear.

One would expect the King of Kings to have the most glorious diadem.  And when we look to the closing scenes of Scripture, we see him wearing not only a crown of gold, but “many crowns.” (Rev 19:12). Perhaps that’s the visual effect of its glory, to appear as multiple circlets.

It’s amazing, then, to consider that the only material to encircle Jesus’s head on earth was twisted, thorny bramble.  He came as the King to his subjects, but as John might say, they “knew him not.”  Worse than that, they mocked his claim to royalty.

But he died and was resurrected to fulfill the promise that God himself would be “a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people.” (Isaiah 28:5)

There is one crown I can wear now.  Isaiah sketches a picture of God’s people singing as they enter the eternal Zion with “everlasting joy” crowning their heads (35:10).  That journey of joy starts the moment of knowing Christ.  And it never ends.

Coming out of a tough year and a half, I’m afraid I might have put that crown down somewhere around here.  Might have to shine it up a little.  See if it still fits.

Singing helps.  It’s a daily reminder of what the King has done for me!

The head that once was crowned with thorns
is crowned with glory now;
a royal diadem adorns
the mighty victor’s brow.
The joy of all who dwell above,
the joy of all below,
to whom he manifests his love
and grants his name to know.      
Thomas Kelly (1769-1855)

Reader: What shines up your crown of joy right now?

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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