Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Royal Baby

Understandably, there is much hoopla when a royal baby is born somewhere around the world.  Since Americans don’t have a monarchy, we have nothing like a royal baby to celebrate.  Fawning over a royal baby is both fun and funny.  For Americans a royal baby creates an occasion for much fun.  It is fun to join the world in speculating when the birth will come, what the name will be and so on.  In some ways it is so much fun because we have nothing at stake. 

And it is funny.  It is funny because if we had any national stake in the birth of a royal baby, we would be in revolt.  We took care of the king/queen issue back in the Revolutionary War.  I know some people who think having a president is bad enough!  A king or queen would be unthinkable.  There will be no royal babies here.  But somewhere else?  That’s great; we’ll watch and participate with pleasure.

Having pondered royal babies, I have concluded it does not matter much at all to me.  Of course, I am always happy the royal baby is safely born and, apparently, healthy, etc.  That is always cause for celebration.  I am sure the royal baby will do well.  Royal babies have about the best deal possible for human beings on this earth. 

The birth of another royal baby caused me to think about babies, rather than about royalty.  This is the juncture most media coverage take the other path.  For media and all of us watching the media, the birth of a royal baby is news and newsworthy simply because the baby is royal.  If it were my baby or my kid’s baby, there would be absolutely no media.  You would never know another baby had come into the world unless I told you.  So let’s focus on the baby, rather than the royalty.  That potentially makes this a spiritual focus.

The spiritual question that can be posed asks this: what if every baby born into the world were to be seen AND treated royally?  A royal baby is the lucky infant born to parents within the royal lineage.  In this sense “royal” is an adjective.  The baby is royal because of parents and lineage…and no other reason.  However, if every baby in the world were seen and treated royally, then the only qualification for royalty is to be a baby!

Seen this way radically democratizes the way to see royalty.  That should appeal to every American.  And of course, for me, this radically spiritualizes the way to see every baby born into the world.  This radical spiritualization can be seen to take three forms.

In the first place, to see and treat every baby royally is to see every baby with the dignity he or she deserves.  As a Christian, it is important to me to affirm what the Genesis creation story contends, namely, that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God.  Of course, this is true for the royal baby.  He is created in the image and likeness of God.  This is the dignity he bears as a human being.  In my mind that is the mark of his royalty.  He is a child of God.  But the good news is, every other baby born in the world bears this divine lineage.

It is important that we not only see that this is true for every baby born into the world, but that we begin to treat every baby as the royalty of that dignity deserves.  This is true for babies born in the most innocuous place in Africa, in the darkest places in America’s inner cities and in the swankiest hospitals around the world.  Every human being bears the mark of divine dignity.

Secondly, every royal baby has decided advantages.  But I also contend that every baby born into the world deserves to be seen and treated royally.  He and she deserve advantages, too.  We are all spiritual equals in the eye of the Holy One.  It is time people in the world stepped up and treated royally all the little, dignified ones with the advantages they deserve.  Advantages come both in material form and spiritual form.  Every baby should be given both.

Finally, every baby born into the world deserves the royal treatment of deep love.  Not to love deeply every little, dignified baby is to sin against him or her.  Worse than not being fair, not to love deeply is a sin.  All the major religious traditions teach us that we should care for those who are less than advantaged.  Babies are simply too young and innocent to be held accountable for anything.  They are blameless.  They deserve the best.

Every baby merits being treated royally.  Perhaps the profoundest way to do this royal treatment is to love them---love them deeply.  It certainly would be nice if their parents could do this.  But we all know in too many cases, this is not working.  We cannot throw up our hands and say, “oh well.”  Instead, we have to pitch in to do the deep loving they may not get any other places.

All of us who see the spiritual truth to the royal nature of all babies have to become God-like and do the loving that God wants us to do.  We only have one chance to love babies and that is when they are babies.  To wait is to waste golden opportunities to begin to transform the world.  I am sure if we are willing, we will be given a chance to treat someone royally.  Go for it.      

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