An uncanny connection exists between myself and England’s Prince William.
Perhaps it’s our common love of polo — I love the shirts, he rides the horses. Or maybe it’s our joint tendency to avoid cameras — he flees paparazzi and I run from my kids and their twisted tendency to snap shots of my bald spot. But I suspect the affinity is more basic; the young man reminds me of my very good friend, Jesus.
Both the King and the king-to-be prove more than willing to descend to the level of commoners.
Last December, “Exhausted and chilled, with a hard wind blowing up from the Thames, William of Wales curled tighter in his sleeping bag to fend off the -4 degree Celsius cold. He wore a wool hat and grey hoodie, but this was a world away from his bedroom at Clarence House, his official residence near Buckingham Palace. Only a length of cardboard, laid amid dumpsters and ventilation grates near London’s Blackfriars Bridge, protected him from the icy sidewalk.” (Macleans, Nov. 29, 2010)
The motivation was two-fold: to understand “the plight of the homeless and to raise money for Centrepoint, a charity supporting poverty stricken youth…”
King Jesus is likewise familiar with inclement weather. After being born in a stable, his mother wrapped him in soft clothes and laid him in a manger. Noted author and lecturer St. Paul recorded this description of Christ Jesus “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6,7)
The formal theological term for this miracle is the incarnation. I simply call it “God in an Earth-suit”.
London’s vagrants registered shock at the royal vagabond shivering beside them. Shepherds were likewise stunned when a plethora of angelic beings chorused the good news that a saviour is born.
Witnesses in each case no doubt asked, “What on Earth is he doing here?”
Also noteworthy in this tale of two kings is their love for the commonly called “lower class.”
William recently announced his engagement to Kate Middleton. She’s the first non-blueblood betrothed to a future king since Anne Hyde of the mid-17th century.
Contrary to his father Charles, the young prince dared to gaze beyond palace walls when seeking a bride. Through their nuptial exchange in 2011, Kate becomes royalty.
I understand the awe of such royal relations. St. Peter described Jesus-lovers as “…a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” (1 Peter 2:9).
We commoners of human origin become undeserving participants in the Divine’s dream of intimate relationship.
The associated benefit package is literally out of this world. What is His becomes ours: wisdom, peace, grace, love. We receive the right to walk near to Him, chat with Him about the stuff of life. His pledge to never leave or forsake us endures for all of eternity — even reaching to the other side of physical death.
Rod Barks is a Saskatchewan pastor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.