Crown Him With Many Crowns

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Crown Him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon His throne;

I sung this 170-year-old hymn (the original has 12 verses!) as a child. I liked the idea of ‘When I die I shall go to heaven to be with Jesus’. I still like this simple picture.

Then I read Revelation in my Bible… This hymn is based on: ‘His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him than no-one knows but himself.’ (19:12)

Not so simple… multiple, complex, superimposed, at times ambiguous, images – a lamb on a throne wearing many crowns… but the lamb is also the shepherd, a king and a lion… and the sacrificed lamb is also the priest.

Looking at these different pictures and images I see a person, place and narrative in multiple dimensions bringing growing, fresh (but still limited) insights and understanding.

Hark! How the heav’nly anthem drowns
All music but its own!

I like the idea of a ‘heavenly anthem’. This week football and ‘The Euros’ remind us of National Anthems.

I grew up with anthems sung in anti-war protest rallies; ‘rock anthems’ identified rock bands. Today local football clubs, gay pride marches, black lives matter gatherings may have their ‘anthems’ as individuals unite under a collective identity.

The heavenly anthem drowns out all others, because the new heavenly identity brings together, and is more important than, all others.  

Awake, my soul and sing
Of Him Who died for thee,

And somehow I become part of this picture, this drama. I observe the crowns, lamb and throne. I join in the anthem. I’m there.

Theory and theology disappear. I wake up to a new reality. Little old me is part of something much bigger. My puny, insignificant, finite life is lived in a grander context. I have fresh meaning, purpose and humble gratitude.

And hail Him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity.

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