|Our Three Kings at the Nativity Play in AFC last month|
At AFC last month, as our All Age Nativity came to an end Three Kings walked down the aisle in stately procession. One by one they knelt before the Crib and presented their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Yet this year, as has become an AFC tradition, they once again did something else. As they knelt before Jesus they removed their crowns before presenting their gifts. A profound moment.
What message, I wonder, was intended behind such beautiful symbolism?
Perhaps it was this.
If Jesus is to us the epitome of love, the life and love of God as seen in the life and love of a human being – well as these kings kneel before LOVE they come not clothed in their earthly accolades but in an honest humility devoid of pomp or an inflated ego.
Love is a great unifier. Love breaks down barriers. Love reminds us of our shared humanity. Love crosses boundaries and opens up shared partnerships.
Before LOVE we are all the same. We are all blessed the same way when our lives are touched by the kiss of its presence.
When the Queen and Prince Philip were married in the splendour of Westminster Abbey 70 years ago this November, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, reminded them that despite the pomp and pageantry of this occasion the Marriage Service that day in the Abbey, the words used and the vows made, was essentially and deliberately the same as those used by any couple getting married at their local Parish Church.
Standing before LOVE none of us came as kings or chief executives! As we kneel before God our accolades never guarantee us greater access, and our failings never close the door to God’s loving generosity and transforming grace.
This Epiphany then, I’ll remember the Kings in our Nativity Play – who not only presented their gifts but also, as they knelt, removed their crowns.