I’m not a follower of royalty nor am I usually interested in keeping up with the headlines of the rich and famous, whether scandalous or newsworthy. But a picture in the July 25 issue of Hola captivated my interest. This magazine is dedicated to entertaining folks with pictures of royalty all over Europe, particularly with connections to Spain. About three years ago all the crown princes of several European nations (Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and of course Spain) were getting married and their choice of spouses was quite the buzz. Now they are all having babies, so the magazine is full of baby pictures. This picture triggers my fascination with how a child approaches the throne of the most high-ranking religious figure of the land. Check out the apparent innocence of Infanta Leonor (about age two) as she checks out the area occupied by Cardinal Archbishop Rouco Varelo of Madrid presiding over the baptism of her little sister, Sofia. Rather than being aware of her status and privilege, she simply feels at home in her world as she knows it. And check out the Cardinal’s countenance: acceptance and delight. Neither one of them is concerned about why she should not be there enjoying herself.
Shifting focus to Leonor’s dad, I was impressed by the scripture reading by Crown Prince Felipe. He chose Ezekiel 36:24-28. My positive reaction was not so much to verse 24 which refers to God’s future gathering of the Nation of Israel into their own land which has nothing to do with the baptism of a new baby in Spain, nor verse 25 which refers to God’s forgiveness of Israel’s idolatry and His acceptance of His people as holy which has nothing to do with “sprinkling with clean water” in baptism, but I was attracted instead to his inclusion of verse 26-28. He did not have to include these references to a “new heart” and a “new spirit within you” that will replace a heart of stone with a heart of flesh. I like this reference to God placing His Spirit within us so that we are motivated from within to “walk in His statutes” and obey Him. While baptism does not accomplish all that, we have a picture of what happens in the fulfillment of the New Covenant.
As adopted children of God then, we obey God’s laws because we love Him and we act in keeping with our new nature, not because we need to earn the privilege of coming close to Him. Jeremiah spelled out this new way of relating to God in detail and it was referenced again in Hebrews.
Now as a child like Leonor, I can come to Jesus with no distraction solely on the basis of His grace and mercy and cleansing and renewal. And then, the encouraging words of Hebrews 4:16 makes sense:
Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
Sometimes I approach the throne of grace too casually forgetting that I have no business there in my own merit. Other times, I exclude myself from coming close to God’s throne because I am too preoccupied by my uncleanness and not enough mindful of the consequence of Christ’s shed blood on the cross for me. So I learn a little something of great importance by noticing a little girl’s comfort in a very big and powerful world.