Always, when she writes or emails me, my sister signs her name “HRH”– the short form for “Her Royal Highness.” Always. It’s a regular joke, of course, but I think she’s quite serious in the constant reminder to herself and to me of who we are and what our ultimate purpose is. As Christians, by God’s decree we are members of a Royal family. We are indebted to, and gratefully glorify the King. Our goal and our destiny is to represent His everlasting Kingdom. We live with an acute sense of purpose and identity.
In understanding this, there was a distinct advantage to having been born and raised in Canada. As British subjects, Canadians were constantly cognizant of British royalty. As a little girl, I dreamed of one day marrying the prince, and thereby finding admittance into this elect royal family.
When we were young, the pomp and circumstance of the elaborate royal ceremonies–christenings, coronations, incredible fairytale weddings– were breathtaking as we sat transfixed before our television sets. (Well, actually it was our radio when I was young, “listening” to the weddings of Princess Elizabeth and then Princess Margaret.) Even though I was living in the U.S. by the time Prince Charles married Lady Diana, I still remember exactly where I sat spellbound watching the breathtaking pagentry of their beautiful and elaborate wedding ceremony.
It was both fascinating and challenging to comprehend that one specific family was so set apart. There was absolutely nothing that Princess Elizabeth, nor Prince Charles after her, nor Prince William after that, had done to either deserve or earn their place in this royal dynasty. By birth, they were simply elected into this household, and every detail of their lives was consequently focused upon their ultimate destiny: from the day they were born, their purpose was to rule as kings or queens.
We rarely consider that the lives of the royal family members are not spent merely basking carelessly in the lavish excesses of the priviledged– but in being a perpetual representation of the Kingdom in which they rule. To be born into a royal family is a serious responsibility, with serious, vigilant requirements. There are sacrifices that members of royalty are required to make as they constantly find themselves putting aside their own wishes and desires, called to a higher and more noble purpose.
Consequently, every aspect of that royal child’s training, from the very day of his birth, is directed toward that ultimate purpose, ruling. The royal child is set apart from other children. His training is focused and intense. He is not allowed to carelessly wile away time in the same childish ways that other children– without purpose– around him might do. His education is focused and precise; his requirements are rigid; his habits and manners are formed with purpose and sincerity. Never for one moment can he lose sight of his goal. He is called to a higher purpose. He is destined to be a king, and he must to be ready for it when it comes.
For royalty, just a few moments of rebellious behavior never goes unnoticed. Any time a member of the royal family brings shame on the family name, everybody knows about it. Nothing is hidden. His duty is to protect and properly represent the kingdom. Always.
Had the royal line gone along as intended, Prince Charles would not have been in such a direct line to the throne. The royal line falls first to the oldest son of the ruling king or queen. If there is no son, it falls to the oldest daughter. Prince Charles’ grandfather, King George, was the second oldest son in his family, so his brother, Edward, was actually the rightful king. But after only a short reign, Edward abdicated in order to marry a divorced woman he’d fallen in love with, and marrying a divorcee was forbidden. Therefore his brother George, the next in line, became king, and the royal line extended to King George’s children, to his oldest daughter, the current Queen Elizabeth. On her death, it will go to her oldest son Charles, unless–as speculated– he abdicates to his own son William, or is disqualified because he too married a divorced woman. Abdication is rare, but it sometimes happens.
This understanding of a royal line has always been deep in my heart and mind as my husband and I raised our family. Over and over, the Bible refers to the God of our salvation as the “King of kings” reigning over an everlasting Kingdom. We are members of a “royal priesthood, a holy nation.” As elect members in the household of King Jesus, we know that we are in the world, but not of it; we are kings and priests unto our God, ruling and reigning as ambassadors and perpetual representatives of the Kingdom over which Jesus Christ rules. We are called, we are sanctified, we are holy. We are part of a royal Kingdom, not for the sake of our own fulfillment, but for the glory of the King.
Our children are born into a covenant family. It is no accident that our children came to us, to be raised as members of the royal family. Each one of their births was part of God’s exact, ordained plan. The ultimate purpose for which they were born is to glorify God and be faithful representatives of King Jesus in this world. They will find no rest until that purpose is fulfilled. Except for the rare cases of abdication, we must expect that they will one day take on the cloak of responsibility in continuing the line of royalty in their generation, and train them accordingly. We will not assume abdication. We will expect faithful continuation.
Consequently, mistakes and failures notwithstanding, every detail of their lives as we raise and train them must be focused upon that goal– their discipline, their education, their responsibilities, the jobs they were required to do, the activities and projects and interactions and friendships and habits. Our passionate purpose is clear, and our means of training ought to be the pattern of Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when your rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them onthe doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Another elaborate British royal wedding will take place this spring, as Prince William marries his bride Kate. It will be breathtaking in its beauty, its ceremony, and elegance. But even as we celebrate it, we must always remember who we are–members of a royal family that far supersedes British royalty. We must raise our children accordingly. Let’s never forget who we are, and what our purpose is!
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