I’d like to tell you a story about a princess! Or perhaps more to the point, about her crown.
1. The crown gives her assurance - she is the princess
She wakes up in the morning and there is the crown.
She may behave in very un-princess like ways: throwing her teddy on the floor
She may say some very un-princess like things: 'I don’t want to do that'
She may feel very un-princess like.
But the crown says she is still the princess
2. The crown promises her that she has an inheritance - our inheritance is what we are going to get in the future.
The crown tells her that she has an amazing inheritance: one day she is going to be queen. All the palaces, corgis, servants, jewels, the whole country - in fact, everything - will belong to her!!
3. The crown reminds her of her job
It is not all fun being a princess.
In fact it is not an easy job being a princess:
You have to work very hard, you still have to go to school, and in the afternoon there are extra lessons in princessing. And everyone expects you to do very well; and you have to meet lots of people and be nice to them, and sometimes people won't like you because they don't like princesses.
There will be days when the alarm goes off, and you think 'I'd love to snuggle down under the blankets and have another hours sleep. I’d love not to be a princess and to be ordinary’.
But then she looks up and sees the crown on her dressing table. And she thinks, 'No. I've got to get up, because I've got a job to do'.
So the crown - gives her assurance, promises her an inheritance and reminds her of her job.
If you have chosen to follow Jesus, if you have received Jesus into your life, our bible passage from Romans tells us that God has given us his Spirit. And his Spirit is like a crown - not a princess or prince crown on your head - but a crown in your heart.
So I would like to give you all a small paper crown to remind you of the Spirit-crown.
1. This crown gives you assurance
You are a child of God
You may at times do things that are very unlike a child of God
You may say things that are very unlike a child of God
You may feel very unlike a child of God
But this crown on your heart tells you that you are still a child of God.
Our Bible verses today say that the Spirit cries out from deep within us to the God who is far beyond us, 'Abba, Father' (v15)
2. This crown promises you an inheritance
Our bible reading says, ‘If we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ’ (v17)
All things, all people belong to God; they've been given to Jesus and because you are with Jesus, one day they will belong to you! What is interesting is that what you think is yours, and even you yourself, belong to Jesus and will also belong to all people.
The bible says that we are heirs of God and that one day this creation, and everything in it, will belong to the saints of God.
That will begin to change how we look at things, other people and ourselves.
3. This crown reminds you that you have a very difficult job to do:
It is not easy to live as a child of God in a world where people ignore God, hate God, or say that God doesn't exist.
Our passage tells us that just as Jesus suffered, so we will suffer.
It means that people may say or do unkind things. That is happening to people in other parts of the world [Mosul]
It means that you will live in a way that is different to the people who live around you: you will live for the things God wants and not for the things that other people might want
It means you long and pray and work that others would come to God and receive this crown that he offers which we can put on our heart. That is why Jesus was willing to die on the cross - so that his enemies might become his friends - so that they can share in his inheritance.
It is hard being led by the Spirit. For Jesus it meant he had to go to the cross. For you it might mean that you are not as wealthy as you would like to be, that you may not have your families approval for what you do, that you need to stick at something that others would give up on much sooner, that people may be unkind to you.
This is a crown, but it has – like St Edmunds' crown – an arrow in it.
One more thing.
When our princess was made Queen there was glory and there was joy. People lined the streets, waved their flags and they cheered.
The crown on our heart, the Holy Spirit, gives us now glimpses of the glory and joy that will be then - when the sons and daughters of God, the princes and princesses of heaven, meet with Jesus, and become, with him, kings and queens of heaven and earth.