November 21, 2018

Under His Banner

In 2009, Scotland invited the world to a ‘homecoming’ in Edinburgh, Scotland. Part of this was called “The Gathering” where Scottish clans put up tents in Holyrood Park and celebrated their heritage. Thousands of people attended daily. At the end of the three days of music, fun and games, the clans gathered under their banners and walked the ‘royal mile’ to Edinburgh Castle for a grand final performance. Each banner proclaimed the family name.

My clan (Leslie) was one of the smaller groups, but we didn’t concern ourselves about that. It seemed the entire city was lining the streets to cheer and celebrate, particularly as their own clan passed, but each of more than one hundred banners was greeted with enthusiasm. It was both exciting and humbling. Our titled clan chieftain (an Earl) walked with us, as did Leslies from all parts of the world. Those who made up this unusual parade were wearing kilts or some tartan particular to their clan. A few wore ancient highland garb distinctive to their homeland. The sound of bagpipes filled the air and we could not stop smiling.

Even as I write this, my heart fills with delight at the memory of that parade and the support of thousands. Only in Scotland do people lean out windows and raise their glasses to honor their families. It was a day we will never forget.

This morning’s devotional is about a royal marriage and its celebration recorded in the Song of Solomon. Theologians debate the purpose of this book of the Bible, but many agree that the love of the groom for his bride does illustrate the love of Jesus for His people. One verse stands out because it refers to a banner, something familiar to God’s people. It is a visible sign that those under it belong to God.

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” (Song of Solomon 2:4)

Remembering the three-hour march up the Royal Mile gives me goosebumps. However, this image of being under the love-banner of God is even more incredible. He is taking His family to a royal banquet under the family banner and written on that banner is LOVE.

What will that be like? Certainly it will be both glorious and incredible humbling. Who will be in that parade? All those who have accepted the love of God as expressed in the death of His Son. And the only ones in the sidelines cheering will be those who have gone ahead in earlier parades? Perhaps. Maybe all those who rejoice will be together in that ‘royal’ parade, not watching but marching in it.

Jesus, Your love is taking me that final mile to a forever castle. Already I can sense the drama and the excitement of walking with You under Your banner of love, of rejoicing that I am included in Your family. Praise God that You have enabled me to celebrate the joy and wonder of what You have done and the family to which I belong.

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