Next week the Netherlands will take a historic step that none alive have seen in the Netherlands. They will once again have a king instead of a queen. The last King of the Netherlands was Willem III who died in 1890. Since then there have been three queens. But on April 30 the monarchy will pass into the hands of Queen Beatrix’ son who will become King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
What is so great about a king (or queen)? Isn’t that what most countries without a monarchy fought to free themselves from? Of course, most modern monarchies are mostly ceremonial unless we look at some of the examples in the middle east. The monarch is beholden to the constitution and often has very little real power in the country, although he/she may have quite extensive wealth. These monarchs do have various forms of influence, however, which they exercise to varying degrees of success.
In Belgium, King Boudewijn had to step down for a day for a law allowing abortion to pass.This was a law the government had written and passed but which the king personally would not sign into law because of his beliefs. In Thailand, the king has often been called on to help settle political disputes between parties. Queen Beatrix in the Netherlands has always been seen as a powerful influence in getting Dutch companies good contracts around the world. Her networking is what makes the difference.
So next Tuesday, the Netherlands will turn orange (the color of the royal family, the house of Orange) as the country welcomes a new monarch. It is a time of parties, parades and plenty of fun for a day. And when, as happened in 2010, someone is unhappy and the day ends in tragedy, it is the whole country that mourns. Queen’s Day is a day of national unity, in joy and in sorrow. And now it will be King’s Day.
And because I come from one of those countries without a monarch, certain links between this and the King of kings, Jesus Christ jump out at me. Here are just a few thoughts:
- A king is not elected. He is king, whether we want it to be so or not. Jesus is King, not because we like him or want him. We can choose to accept him for our lives, but he is King whether we follow him or not.
- On King’s Day everybody (or almost everybody) is a fan of the king, at least on the surface of things. It is only after this day, in the day-to-day living that we see how much we really follow or rely on the king.
- Our kings are limited by us. Am I limiting Jesus’ influence in my life? Making him simply a ceremonial head of my days? Using him to influence business deals and parties, but not really paying attention otherwise?
- Can I be crazy for my King? Does it really matter to me so much what others think of me? Or can I put on His colors – act like Jesus in my daily life – and let people know who I belong to?
I will enjoy King’s Day next week and I will continue to allow it to remind me of who is really in charge, and who I really want to be in charge of my daily life.