Yesterday news broke that Prince had died. It’s both sad and shocking to think of such a creative and talented person dying so young. What is even more shocking however is the fact that Prince has joined the growing ranks of famous people who have died this year. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Ronnie Corbet, Terry Wogan, Victoria Wood, Prince – who’s next?
The figures bear out that that up to now 2016 has seen an extraordinarily high number of “notable” deaths. According to a BBC news item up to this time in 2014, the number of famous deaths was 38. By this time last year, the number was 30. This year, the number is already 75!
Is it just coincidence? Is it just that we have more “celebrities” than we used to have? Are the bumper crop of Baby Boomer celebs just getting old? I’ll leave that one to the statisticians.
For now I’ll just say that I’m glad I’m not famous.
Being realistic, it shouldn’t be much of a shock that people die. Ordinary people do it all the time. Maybe it just hits us harder because these stars have brought us joy down the years through their talents. Perhaps we have begun to associate “Fame” with living forever, as suggested by the theme tune of the aptly named 80’s TV show.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be reminded of our mortality. According to the Bible, death represents an eternal point of no return. Up to the moment of death, we may repent, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and be forgiven and restored. For those who die in their sins however, there is no longer any hope. We are told in Hebrews Chapter 9, verse 27 that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” No second chances. No appeals. Our spiritual condition at death determines our eternity.
It is quite right that Prince’s life and achievements be celebrated. He will be missed by his fans. They should mourn his passing, just as we have mourned the passing of so many “ national treasures” this year.
But in the process of celebrating talent and mourning the loss of great entertainers, lets give a thought to the fragility of our own lives. Lets give thanks for so great a salvation offered to us in Christ, by a merciful God!
Please click below to download Paul Winter’s Spring 2016 newsletter.
After months of speculation and high level negotiations the date has finally been set. On Thursday the 23rd June the UK will chose whether or not to remain in the European Union.
In a recent BBC television program on the subject, Political Editor Nick Robinson was at pains to point out not only the importance of the decision, but that it was a simple one. Only two options; in or out – our choice.
It is certainly an emotive subject and one that offerers to bring a measure of division. Politicians are already lining up to throw their lot in with the two opposing camps. We can expect months of relentless campaigning, an endless diet of seemingly contradictory facts and figures, and a dizzying level of “spin” on each new development.
Some voters will become entrenched in their positions; some will be persuaded to change their mind; some will just get confused.
There were occasions in the Bible when the Children of Israel had to make nationally important choices. In these cases it was not primarily about political or economic union with other nations, but whether they were going to serve the Living God or idols.
When Joshua was coming to the end of his life he confronted the people with a stark choice.
“…choose this day whom you will serve…” There was no third option. They either served the one true God or idols.
Later Elijah presented the people with the self same choice.“How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
These binary – in out decisions don’t sit well with the consumerist mindset. “We are the customers” we reason, “we should have more options!”
And indeed, it might seem that there are many spiritual options out there from Buddhism to Rastafarianism and from Spiritism to the “New Age Movement.
However, in reality, there are only two choices. Accept Jesus as saviour or serve something else.
Jesus didn’t give us any other options when He said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”