Recently, I went to the Braemar Gathering in Scotland. It is the most famous of the Scottish highland games. Supposedly, one member of the royal family attends each year. We expected someone royal but were astonished and thrilled when we discovered Queen Elizabeth was coming.
She rode onto the field in a dark limousine. The crowd began to clap and cheer as the royals were led by tartan-clothed pipers and drummers playing “Scotland the Brave.” As she exited the vehicle, I held my breath and stood—waiting for a first glimpse. The Queen arose. She wore a beautiful turquoise blue suit trimmed in black and coat to match. A rimmed hat rested neatly on her head. The crowd clapped and cheered. It took a few minutes for the family to settle onto the covered dais. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Princess Anne were all present. Wow! Unexpected!
The finals began, and we watched as brawny men heaved on ropes in a tug of war battle for first place. Some flipped cabers that were 19’6” feet long and weighed 175 pounds; other men flung 50+ pound weights over poles or went round in circles then threw them for distance. Some ran sprints or long distance. Others hurled themselves over poles in high jumps. Young girls and women did Scottish dances on a raised stage in front of the Royal Family.
The weather was perfect. What an unforeseen experience! As the family left, Queen Elizabeth looked our way, waved and smiled. (I’m sure it wasn’t at us-but…) We laughed and teased about being invited to tea, but being too busy to accept. And we joked about it in a Scottish accent. The family probably went to Balmoral Castle located near Braemar.
Later, when we passed by the turnoff to Balmoral, we continued our silly banter about going to visit the Queen.
If we had tried to go to the castle for tea, we would have been denied entrance. We don’t possess the right lineage or position in society—or an invitation.
It was a joy to see Queen Elizabeth—but later, when I reflected on that privilege, I couldn’t help but compare the brief glimpse of the Queen with the daily invitation and the honor of getting face-to-face with the King of Kings.
I can have coffee, tea, and a meal in the presence of God. I can talk with him on walks and laugh with him over funny things. I can weep and get snotty nosed and messy in his presence, and though he is the most Royal of all Royals, he has condescended to call me his child.
Our daily entrance into his presence should excite us just a bit—maybe like the thrill I felt upon seeing the Queen.
God has provided through Jesus Christ this incredible, glorious honor. But we are flawed, human, and emotional and don’t always experience pleasure in his company. That’s okay. He gets it. He knows our frame. Sometimes we’re tired, tried, or tied up in knots over something.
What I don’t want to do is to perceive prayer or communion with God as common and humdrum. Prayer is so much more than words, sentences, and lists tossed into the heavens. God has granted us union with Christ and entrance to his presence IN CHRIST. It’s a provision of communion that is so utterly mind-blowing that I can’t truly comprehend its glory and am wonderfully humbled by the gift.
I saw the Queen. One day I’ll see Jesus face to face. But today I see him by faith, and it’s more real and thrilling to me than seeing the Queen of England briefly at the highland games in Braemar, Scotland.