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The death of anyone, however long-expected, always comes as a shock. What has been unsurprising, with the passing of Prince Philip at age 99, has been the genuine national sadness and sense of pathos for what the Queen must be going through after 73 years of marriage.
Prince Philip was a pretty unique figure and his life story is not exactly of the common or garden variety. That being said there have emerged certain things that are, on the surface at least, highly surprising even contradictory.
The first relates to that tribal grouping in Vanuatu that have gone one a whole step further than just the normal titles and honours that have attached to the Duke. For this tribe he is someone to be revered and, as an incarnation of deity, he is to be willingly and devotedly adored.
Looking from the completely reverse direction there has been the avalanche of 100,000 complaints that the BBC apparently received from the general public having ditched EastEnders and the MasterChef final in favour of an extended news coverage for the Prince’s passing.
If we consider the events that had direct bearing on the death of another man with multiple titles – the Lord Jesus Christ – this also produced the very same division in people.
For some, there was adoration, the recognition of Him as the divine Son of God, for others he was nothing short of a huge nuisance, getting in the way of people conducting their lives without any disturbance.
Jesus Himself honoured this epitome of freedom asking His own disciples if they also wanted to leave him. Their reply was clear: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus still hands over that same determination to us: annoyance or adoration. Surely here lies a meaty question.