Short Bits: Bowing to the King


Queen Elizabeth was a remarkable woman. She dedicated her life to serving her people, calm and steady, faithful to her nation and to God. Like her predecessors and even her newly crowned son Charles III, the Queen believed hers was a sacred charge, appointed by God Himself to shepherd her kingdom. I was surprised to learn that though it's a traditional honor, according to the Royal Household, there is actually no mandatory protocol for bowing to a British monarch. If one observes the practice, men are to bow from the neck only; women to curtsy, accompanied by "Your Majesty" or "Your Royal Highness." But it's optional.


When I was 21, I took a summer job in Italy teaching a wealthy lawyer's son English in Prato, a city near Florence. The family had a small yacht and most Fridays, we'd pack up and spend the weekend at sea. In the evening, we'd sit on the boat along the pier, watching people promenade. One night, a duke came by, a descendant of Vittorio Emanuele, I think. The family rose and bowed. I did not. Today, that seems childish and rude, but at the time I remember thinking, "I'm an American. He's not my sovereign and I'm not bowing." The lawyer gritted his teeth and later scolded me, but nobody hauled me off to a dungeon or sent me to gallows.


My last blog was about names. Your name, my name, famous names, Bible names. Names are a complicated matter in the British royal family and other kingdoms, with successions based on lineage or even intentional adoption outside the normal scheme, as with King George V, who adopted Windsor.


My blog concluded, as will the history of man, with the name above all names, Jesus.


In these days since Queen Elizabeth's death, a quote has been making the rounds attributed to her, which in fact, was spoken by her great-great-grandmother Victoria.

The story goes like this:


ONE of the chaplains of her late Majesty, Queen Victoria, had been preaching on the Second Coming of the Lord, and afterward, in conversation with the preacher, the Queen exclaimed: " Oh! how I wish that the Lord would come in my lifetime! "

" Why," asked the chaplain, " does your Majesty feel this very earnest desire?

The Queen replied with quivering lips, and her whole countenance lighted up by deep emotion-

" I should so love to lay my crown at His feet."


(Source: The Journey and Its End by Algernon James Pollock)


The Bible says this:


Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV)


Does this seem impossible to you? Downright silly? Don't be like I was with the dapper duke. Recognize Who holds this fragile, fleeting world in His hands: Jesus Christ.



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