I was thrilled to hear this morning that the 99 year-old Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip, has been released from hospital. It’s not that I’m a staunch monarchist. I just love seeing anyone make it to that sort of age; one of my own early memories was the 100th birthday of my great-grandfather, sitting in a suit and tie in front of an enormous cake with an equally huge smile upon his face. And it would be funny for the Prince to receive his 100th birthday letter from the Queen – his wife of 73 years!
It’s a thrill to see people that old. It’s almost as though they are defying the great evil that has plagued humanity for ever. Well, almost forever. It’s as though they’re claiming a victory over something that seems – for the most part – unbeatable. It’s like Prince Phillip is actually cheating death!
Only, he isn’t. It’s sad, but he’s just prolonging it. We rightly celebrate his life (any life!) but the reality is that in the end, he will be defeated as we all will. Death will claim us. At that point, neither royal title nor wealth will be of benefit. The media will turn its attention to new princes. And we will turn our own hearts to new hopes, in the face of the ever-present and ever-discomforting reality of our own mortal nature.
Unless, with Easter approaching, we look to another Prince. Once who not only stared death in the face, but shouted right into it, commanding his own friend Lazarus to walk from its grasp. One who was a King and yet one who walked willingly into the most shamelessly unfair trial and conviction imaginable. And yet, one who three days later walked free from the tomb because death held no power over him.
We all seek hope in the face of life’s difficulties and its fleeting nature. So where will we find it? The Bible points us to the hope of victory over death and eternal life through Jesus. May his life and death bring us hope this Easter.