In South Texas last year, we experienced an almost-Hitchcockian invasion of the monarchs. For what seemed like a month, the sky looked something like this:
It was a plague, I tell ya. This essayette is not about butterflies, though. Check out this news from last week. . . .
The King of Spain made a surprise announcement today — he is handing off the throne. The King says he will abdicate in favor of his son, and in response, the streets of Madrid filled with protesters. They want a vote on their monarchy. (emphasis mine –bc) Should the king be allowed to hand the crown to his son, or should the monarchy be abolished altogether?
. . .
“Spanish people should vote,” commented an interviewee. “Do we want, in our referendum, monarchy — corrupted monarchy — or do we want republic? It’s as simple as that. We need the right to vote, and we don’t have it.”
Does anyone else think this is funny on some level? I have relatively little concern over the type of government that exists in this place or that; I figure a benevolent, non-corrupt monarchy could be as good as any other type. From the little I’ve read, the Spanish monarchy seems to have a singular history, though: it had been abolished and was later restored. This fact alone lends a little cred to the idea of voting on the monarchy at this juncture.
Still, it’s ironic simply to mention voting on monarchy, without further explanation of the scenario. It brings to mind Monty Python’s “autonomous collective” of peasants mining the muck, unaware that King Arthur was king of all the Britons.
With or without knowledge of the Spanish history in the 20th century, we could ask, what gives the people the right to question the existence of their monarchy?
Neither do we have the inalienable right to question the monarchy of the Lord. I am not one who believes that God exercises absolute, complete earthly discretion. In other words, I think He, as monarch, has graciously and powerfully allowed for His subjects to have decision-making discretion in the things of the world. Further, I find that there is evidence of His openness to human “intrusion” into eternal matters. He is a Monarch Who has elected to allow some democracy, as it were.
Inasmuch as these powers of sway have been granted by the Almighty, we are “free” — and He may be seen as even more powerful, having elected to relinquish some of His absolute power to us, for a time.
Some may object to the characterization of God as less than absolutely reigning. (I am certainly not intending to suggest that He is anything less than absolute. I am saying that His absoluteness is highlighted by His gracious allowances, His apparent decisions not to govern every detail.)
Some see the human expression of preferences in disputable matters — i.e. congregational issues, indistinct “doctrinal” matters, etc. — as evidence that humans are ignoring the Kingship of God. For these typically sincere-hearted people, most matters are black and white, and if someone has an opinion/interpretation that doesn’t tow the party line, he must be rebelling against God and suggesting a democracy instead of a monarchy.
It is not as simple as preferences in congregational issues. Insisting on your own way in a peripheral matter is likely not very harmonious, but I have rather firdst-hand knowledge that some of these seeming “references,” when illuminates, may be seen in the light of since desire to be subject to the King rather than to human tradition.
The whole matter is this: lordship. True, pervasive lordship. Who is lord, in effect? (I use the lower-case “l” there because I’m wanting us to think about function, not title.) If the Father is the Lord . . . if Jesus Christ is Lord, disputable matters may more easily be seen in proper perspective.
Some Christian thinkers have questioned what they refer to as “lordship theology.” I’m not really sure why they question it, and I won’t hazard a guess here. (I need to leave it to others to do the research if they want. I have too many things that I want to read before I want to read about a human construct called “lordship theology.”)
When all is said and done, there is a Monarch. We don’t have a say in the ultimate lordship of the Father and the Son.
As Paul highlighted in the hymnic passage we know as Philippians 2:6-11, every tongue will acknowledge that Jesus is LORD/YHVH, and this accrues to the Father’s glory.