"You have made us a little lower than God, and crowned us with glory and honor." - Psalm 8:5
Remember the wedding of William and Kate? Many of us went gaga over it. They're beautiful people, after all, and we're fascinated by celebrity. But royalty itself doesn't mean much to us. Kings and queens are things of the past. Most royals are just figureheads now.
As much as we reject monarchy, the immense dignity and sovereign glory that used to be associated with crowned heads actually belongs, the psalmist says, to us—to human beings, created just a little lower than God.
Did you hear that? Just a little lower than God.
In some parts of the Orthodox Church, it's the custom to crown the newly-baptized. In my class on the sacraments, I show a video of a baptism of adults in a Russian Cathedral. Invariably some of my democratic, egalitarian students start to cry when the priest reverently places a circle of lilies on each new Christian's head.
I think it may be because that gesture awakens something we know is true, even if some families, religious doctrines, schools, relationships, advertising, and life's many blows have tried to kill it. It unmasks the lie too many of us believe that we're not worthy. It declares instead that we're glorious, that the flowered crown God weaved for us in the beginning is a perfect fit, that our dignity is immense, and that our glory astonishes the angels.
Here's a necessary ministry: Whenever the lie is told and a human head droops down, lift it up. Crown it with many crowns.
From gardens of mercy and fields of grace, you weave for everyone a crown that fits our worth. Give us eyes to see our beauty. Bend our knees to each other's dignity, as we honor every creature you have honored with life.
J. Mary Luti is Visiting Professor of Worship and Preaching at Andover Newton Theological School.