Sermon Details

The Crown

October 30, 2022
Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville, IN, invites you to join us as we worship in this time of SARS-CoV-2. Today's Sunday service will be led by Pastor John Van Nuys and Liturgist David Hadley. Pastor John's sermon title is "The Crown". Hymns led by Jennie Fights accompanied by Alan White. Thank you for joining us remotely.

The Crown – the Netflix series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth – is continuing. Season 5 drops on November 9. The Crown appears to be an elegant drama dressed up in tuxedos and tails, but it’s actually a simple story about a family and a calling. The family is the House of Windsor and the calling is to rule the United Kingdom.

Elizabeth doesn’t want the limelight, but she dutifully becomes queen. Her sister Margaret yearns for center stage, but is shunted to the wings. Elizabeth’s son Charles struggles. The crown appears to be an unparalleled blessing, but it’s actually a horrific burden. Individuality is sacrificed. Marriages implode. Despite great external wealth, there is greater internal poverty. As Elizabeth, who is played by Olivia Coleman, grimly confesses: “We make of our destiny what we can.” At another point Elizabeth says, “Unhappiness is paradoxical. You are unhappy. Then something worse happens, making you realize that your unhappiness was actually happiness after all.”

The royal fairytale is actually a real nightmare, which makes you think: Thank God that I am NOT a character in that story. And it makes you say: Thank God that I AM a character in another story. Thank God we all are.

While the Bible appears to be an ancient drama and old news, it’s actually good news. It’s actually a continuing story – still unfolding today — about a family and a calling. The family is the human family, and the calling is to be God’s children. Royal children, created and called to oversee the King’s creation by extending God’s blessings to all.

We do that by loving God with all our heart, soul, and might – and by loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. That is the way of Christ. As we follow him in his life of love, we join him in the rule that is the Kingdom of God. With Christ, we become royal heirs. By grace, the crown of life is bestowed upon us as we faithfully follow the Lord of Life in his servant way.

Some see such a crown and calling as a horrific burden, but it is actually an unparalleled blessing. Following Christ doesn’t diminish our individuality. Yes, it dethrones the ego and its selfish tyranny – so that our truest identity can arise. Sharing ourselves in love by forgiving, serving, and blessing others may appear a poor way to live, but it actually gives us vast inner riches, including in the best Life of all; blessing us with true peace, purpose, and joy.

Some see the story of a crucified Savior and his followers as a tragedy that ends on Good Friday. But others view the story differently. They see beyond Good Friday’s dark ending to Easter’s bright beginning.

In light of Christ’s Easter victory, we, who seek to follow Christ, can gladly confess: We make of our destiny what we can. We incarnate love so we can become who God created us to be. Some sadly are unaware of this saving truth: God loves you. That love is our destiny, and that destiny is a joy. The only life worth living is one that is loving. As you extend yourself in love, you embrace the God of love. You discover yourself in the arms of the One who has always loved you – and who always will. You discover your life covered by that grace. You discover yourself crowned with that Love.

In reading this, your heart may be stirred. What you’re feeling is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. To begin or renew a relationship with Jesus, just pray:

“Lord, help me receive your love. I regret the wrong I’ve done. Forgive me. Jesus, I believe you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Be my Savior. Save me from myself. Save me for yourself. Enter my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to serve you faithfully and well. Help me to love as you love. Lead me in your Way, Truth, and Life now and forever. Continue to show me who you are and who I am in you. Amen.”

If you pray this prayer, contact a pastor. They’ll show you how to live for Christ with purpose, peace, and joy. Jesus says: “Behold, I make all things new.” That definitely includes YOU!