Y Gorn ("The Crown" in Welsh)
A book on prayer that I’m reading recently asked: What is your vision for the future? The question felt too big, impossible to verbalize. But here is one way I’m thinking about the question.
I’ve been watching “The Crown.” Since I’m British (arrived in California at age four), I’m rather besotted. I am half English and half Welsh. I’ve always been proud of the English side of me, and I showed it by trying for half my life to maintain the English clipped t’s and soft r’s when I spoke, just enough to be noticed (“I thought I detected an accent!”). I was so excited when I saw the gloved hand of the queen out her carriage window on one trip to London and the wedding bouquet of Princess Diana on another. I was also very proud of the Welsh side of me. I even memorized how to say the Welsh town name, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. I loved that Wales resisted English rule and maintained their customs and language despite repression and being dubbed “England’s first colony.”
Anglo-Saxonism viewed the Welsh as inferior. This proclivity of the English to move in and take over with an attitude of superiority eventually scattered the forces of the English monarchy around the globe until they were “the empire on which the sun never sets.” My English ancestors used and abused, subjugated, stole from, oppressed. What do I do with this knowledge?
I lament. I groan. I cry. The British Crown had it wrong. What began as a modest nation from a small island near continental Europe morphed into an oppressive system that took much from the world’s cultures and natural resources. It gave some. It took more. And I have been a beneficiary. So, the future? It isn’t the crown on the head of Queen Elizabeth or the crown that all too often sits atop the heads of white men who wield influence and have accumulated much wealth at the expense of history’s oppressed. It’s another kind of crown. It’s a heavenly crown that calls for something completely different.
Jesus saw that there were people in the “highways and hedges” (Luke 14:23). They weren’t the nobles, the aristocratic elite. But they were created in His image, royalty in His eyes, the blessed-are-theys. He invited them to the feast, to places of honor. He turned norms upside down. I want to engage in the work of righting the wrongs of the past and recognizing the crowns on those society has dethroned.
Let’s notice and admire the crowns on Black women’s heads. Let’s read their books, listen to their sermons, watch their documentaries.
Let’s acknowledge the crowns on Indigenous teenagers’ heads. Let’s tune in to their TikTok pleas and respond.
Let’s honor the crowns on refugee and immigrant heads. What are their messages?
Let’s delight in the crowns on the heads of those with disabilities, those in the LGBTQ community, the elderly, the incarcerated, the poor. How can we support their businesses, invest in them?
The future I want to see is full of crowns on the heads of those Jesus marks as monarchs. My English and Welsh (and American!) self is joining the throng, trying to get a glimpse of carriages and bouquets.
by Jacqueline Rhianon Gonnerman