In the late 1800’s, Queen Victoria commissioned the design of a smaller crown to spare her aching neck. Among other reasons for her request, she found the Imperial Crown heavy and uncomfortable. According to Queen Elizabeth, her royal predecessor was removing a important reminder of the burdens that come with leadership, burdens capable of bringing leaders to their knees with a profound awareness of their need for God’s help and wisdom.
Sometimes a pain in the neck can be a healthy thing.
No crown comes with the office of U.S. president. But the one who takes the oath of office is bearing a heavy load nonetheless. Before and after photos of former presidents reveal how the aging process accelerates under the pressures that weigh on the occupant of the Oval Office. Those burdens now rest on President Obama’s shoulders. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn he’s already feeling an ache in his neck . According to the Queen, the responsibilities of leadership are “supposed to be heavy.”
Now that the celebrating is over and our new president is already hard at work on a staggering list of problems and crises, maybe our own burdens and aching necks will remind us to pray for President Obama and for the ezer at his side. As we pray for our president and for others in government, we are, as one pastor put it, “seeking to be prayerful partners of God’s shalom that comes, at least in part, through governments, civic leaders, and even presidents.”