Tag Archives: Prince

Prince Alexis

An old Russian tale tells of Prince Alexis 

He lived in a luxurious palace, while all around him the peasantry existed in squalor, poverty, and misery.

Alexis was moved with compassion at their plight, and wanted to help in some way.

 He left his luxurious surroundings, and walked amongst them, but he had no point of real contact.  They were in awe of him, and treated him with great deference and respect.

 Therefore, he could not win their confidence or affection.

 His visit to them proved futile, and he returned to the palace, a defeated and disappointed man.

 Some time later, a very different man came among the people.  He was rough and ready, with no airs or graces.  He was a doctor who wanted to devote his life to helping the poor.

 He rented a vermin-infested shack, and lived amongst them.  He wore old and tattered clothes.  He ate plain, simple, peasant food, and, most times, he did not know where his next meal would come from.

He made no money because he treated the people free, and gave away his medicines.

 Consequently, he won great respect and was loved by the people in quite a different way to their Prince, Alexis.

 He was one of them.  And he managed to transform the place.  Not only did he minister to them as their doctor; he also settled quarrels and reconciled enemies.  He helped make better lives.

 Eventually, of course, his secret was discovered.  The doctor was none other then Prince Alexis himself.  Alexis had deliberately abandoned the palace and gone down to the people and lived amongst them……to fully identify with them in their need and in their suffering, in order to help them and make their lives happier and stronger.

 Jesus said ‘I have come to give life, life in all its fullness, life in abundance.’  In Jesus Christ, God left his lofty heavenly home, to come down into the human condition – to be like us – to be for us and with us…..God Incarnate….Emmanuel…..whose coming we greet at this Holy time.

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Christ Amongst Us

Soren Kierkegaard, the great Danish theologian of another century tells a story of a prince who wanted to find a maiden suitable to be his queen. One day while running an errand in the local village for his father he passed through a poor section. As he glanced out the windows of the carriage, his eyes fell upon a beautiful peasant maiden. During the ensuing days he often passed by the young woman and soon fell in love.

But he had a problem. How would he seek her hand? He could order her to marry him. But even a prince wants his bride to marry him freely and voluntarily and not through coercion. He could put on his most splendid uniform and drive up to her front door in a carriage drawn by six horses. But if he did this, he would never be certain that the maiden loved him or was simply overwhelmed with all of the splendour.

As you might have guessed, the prince came up with another solution. He would give up his kingly robe. He moved, into the village, entering not with a crown but in the garb of a peasant. He lived among the people, shared their interests and concerns, and talked their language.

In time the maiden grew to love him for who he was and because he had first loved her.

This very simple, almost child like story, written by one of the most brilliant minds of our time explains what we Christians mean by the incarnation. God came and lived among us.

We should be glad that this happened for two reasons. One, it shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is with us, that he is on our side, and that he loves us.

Secondly, it gives us a first hand view of what the mind of God is really all about. When people ask what God is like, we as Christians point to the person of Jesus Christ.

God himself is incomprehensible. But in Jesus Christ we get a glimpse of his glory. In the person of Jesus we are told that God, that mysterious other that created the stars and the universe, is willing to go all of the way, to be one of us, talk our language, eat our food, share our suffering die on a cross. Why? So that a single person, you, me, might be redeemed. And, grow to love Him.

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