The Touch of Royalty

(As we are in the U.K. I hope you enjoy these perspectives from The True Light, a bi-monthly paper published during our work with the Old St. congregation in London from 1990-1994).

Princess Diana Recently kept her last official appointment before withdrawing from public life as a representative of the Royal Family.  By pure coincidence I was on an outing with Lauren and my niece when we happened upon the commotion of Diana’s impending arrival.  We decided to brave the cold in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Princess.

At the duly appointed hour, Diana’s royal Jaguar rolled to a stop, and she stepped out to be greeted by the Lord Mayor of Westminster.  After the brief formalities, the Princess turned and walked toward us.  As she did so our hearts began to beat a bit faster and time seemed to slow.  Nearing the crowd she said, “My, you’ve waited so long in the cold.”  Then, for Lauren, time suddenly came to a complete halt.  The royal hand reached out and caressed her cheek, and the royal voice acknowledged her presence.

In that one fleeting moment all the storybooks of a nine year old little girl suddenly came to life.  Rather than stepping into the world of fairy tales, the fairy tale stepped into Lauren’s world.  A princess became flesh, touched her face and her memory, then vanished again into the world where princesses live.  I so wanted to know how Lauren’s mind was grappling with such a significant event.  What does a little girl do with the words of a princess – even casual ones – that are spoken to her?  But then,  I had my own thoughts. 

I thought of another royal figure who became flesh and endeared Himself to the masses by His commonness and sympathy with the suffering.  He was an approachable Prince; His touch was not withheld from the blind, the leprous, the grieving.  His words were not spared from the lonely, the heart-sick, the guilt-ridden.  Those who encountered Him always got what they needed, if not always what they wanted.  He patiently bore the desperate but often thoughtless pleas which gave Him no respite.

I thought too of Princess Diana’s humanity, the limitations of which had prompted her decision to withdraw from public life.  Before her last appearance on that cold December day, the conversation in the assembled crowd had already turned wistful in anticipation of her absence.  They were mourning the loss of joy and happiness the Princess brought to them in her public role.

The disciples, too, were anxious at the prospect of Jesus’ departure.  Thomas fretted, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5).  Philip pleaded, “Lord, show us the Father” (Jn 14:8).  Jesus told them, “You will weep and lament … and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy … I will see you again and your heart will rejoice” (Jn 16:20, 22).

The fact that Jesus is not physically present with us is not cause for despair.  He has withdrawn to heaven, not because of human frailty, but to comprehensively rule over the universe for the benefit of His people.  He taught us while in the world that He is aware of our frailties and problems, that He cares, and that He is only a prayer away.

If the touch of a princess is enchanting, surely fellowship with the King of Kings means the courage and strength to carry on until “we shall see Him as He is” (1 Jn 3:2), “crowned with glory and honor” (Heb 2:9), “exalted to the right hand of God” (Ac 2:33).