They glistened - these Imperial Royal Crowns - smothered in rubies and diamonds. They had adorned the heads of good kings, bad kings, monarchs with real power and now sovereigns, who in a modern democracy, have just the power of example and influence. After all the shining gold we emerged into a dull, grey London June day feeling we had left the sparkle and fairy tale behind.
On that first Jerusalem Good Friday the crown was of thorns not diamonds given in mockery never homage.
Ironic then that the one who wore it with such resilient patience never asked for an earthly coronation. Never sought a palace. He called his subjects 'friends' and rather than be served he was the one who served.
Today what crown do we try to place upon the brow of Jesus?
A crown of power maybe? Yet he still says that he suffers alongside us, carrying our burdens and serves us with the love that is surely at the epicentre of the universe.
How small they look now - the ones who crowned him that day and put upon his shoulders a purple robe.
How small they look in their cowardly sarcasm.
How small they look in their temporary and abusive power.
How small they look in their mistaken superiority.
This Servant King looks into their eyes knowingly.
This Servant King washes feet, touches lepers and gives us, the fallen, a second chance.
On Good Friday the one who proclaims and embodies this Kingdom of God wears a crown not of diamonds but of thorns and we see a strange and majestic beauty that confuses, challenges and combines our stumbling ideas of kingship and service.