It was a moment I’ll never forget. I had traveled to England for work and decided to stay a few extra days to be a tourist. For someone who had previously hated traveling, this was a big adventure. On my own, out of the country, with absolutely no plan.
As I strolled the streets of London, I was in awe of the city. At that time, I had never experienced what it was like to be in a place where you could walk for miles and see nothing but activity. I was alone, yet surrounded by people. I was one of the masses enjoying the mysteries of modern life.
And then I came to the castle. Buckingham Palace to be exact. The flag was up – the sign that the Queen was in residence. Unlike most tourists, I had decided not to take the tour and to this day, I have no clue what the palace looks like on the inside. But it didn’t matter. I was dumbfounded. And for a girl who’s not easily impressed, this was a moment of magic.
As I stared the flag, it hit me. This was their queen. And the palpable air of respect permeated my surroundings. Being raised in America, I’m used to public officials being elected. The Queen hadn’t been elected; she was born into her position. I could no sooner ascend to her place than I could learn to fly. No desire, no volition, no action on my part could make us equal. She was the Queen; I was not.
Maybe it was the majesty of the moment, but it was only then that I realized the significance of saying that Christ, our King, had died for us. If I were an Englander, I would not be able to imagine a circumstance in which the Queen would choose to give her life for mine. But this is what the Heavenly King did. He gave up His birthright of royalty, to pay my penalty. What an Earthly queen could never be compelled to do, our Heavenly King did willingly on our behalf.
I still think I’m far from grasping the significance of that act. I think people who are familiar with a heritage of royalty probably have a better appreciation for it. But as I think back, I’m grateful for the night spent at the steps of the Queen. It helped prepare me for an eternity at the King’s feet.