Saturday, November 06, 2010

What does it mean to be a king?

The destiny of kingship

There is still the highest kingly calling, even though the "age of kings" has supposedly passed. For those who changed the world for freedom saying, "We have no king but King Jesus!" [e.g. spiritual leaders of the American Revolution], many of them lived what it means to be king, allowing the effect of kingly rule [health of the subjects] to pass on to free men and women, even while their own lives, resources and personal powers were sacrificed.

For instance, George Washington was a true king, under God. But he detested any false trapping of court, and any false power of position or title. Following the Revolutionary War, Washington resigned his commission, seeking a life of relative obscurity at Mount Vernon. In London, King George III heard the news with shock. The British monarch then questioned the American-born painter Benjamin West about what Washington would do now that he had won the war. “Oh,” said West, “they say he will return to his farm.” “If he does that,” said the king, “he will be the greatest man in the world.” And so Washington was that, for his time. He blew the mind of a man who defined life according to position and power.

In an age when ruling politicians will do anything for power and position, passionately embracing deceit, using vile means to accomplish personal, 'progressive' goals, what does it mean to be a true king? A true king -- a king under the real King of the Cosmos, the Creator and Captain of our Salvation?

It is a question worth pondering. Much can be said here.

But for a snippet of understanding, here is a provocative dialogue:

A true king is a man or woman of unbreakable will and moral vision, whose means are as pure as his ends

“What is a king, Louis?”

He stood there with the sword dangling from his hand. “A ruler. A leader. A warlord.”

"More. All of that, but more. The sword is an ancient symbol for justice. Back when the function of nobility was better understood, a king never sat his throne without his sword to hand. If he was to treat with the envoy of another king, it would be at his side. If he was to dispense justice, it would be across his knees. Why do you suppose that was, Louis?”

He stood silent for a few seconds.

"Symbolic of the force at his command, I guess.”

I shook my head gently. “Not just symbolic. A true king, whose throne belonged to him by more than the right of inheritance, led his own troops and slew malefactors by his own hand. The sword was a reminder of the privilege of wielding force, but it was there to be used as well.”

His hands clenched and unclenched in time to his thoughts. I knew what they had to be.

"The age of kings is far behind us, Malcolm.”

"It never ended. Men worthy of the role became too few to maintain the institution.”

"And I’m… worthy?”

If he wasn’t, then no worthy man had ever lived, but I couldn’t tell him that.

"There’s a gulf running through the world, Louis. On one side are the commoners, the little men who bear tools, tend their gardens, and keep the world running. On the other are the nobles, who see far and dare much, and sometimes risk all they have, that the realm be preserved and the commoner continue undisturbed in his portion. There’s no shortage of either, except for the highest of the nobles, the men of unbreakable will and moral vision, for whom justice is a commitment deeper than life itself.”

Francis Porretto comments: And when such a man moves to the fore, it’s never mattered whether we called him a king or not – and it never will.

Salient words for our time!

Such a man or woman would never embrace darkness to promote himself or gain political power. Such a man would never present himself as one thing in order to gain power, and then use the power to destroy that which his inner man hates. Such a man would never enslave his subjects and their children, using pseudo-moral language.


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