I am writing this just after Easter and in the week after the announcement of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death and before his funeral.
I have a few links to Prince Philip. I actually ‘met’ him on two occasions. The first time he was the inspecting officer on Divisions in HMS Collingwood and he walked past me whilst inspecting the squad. The second was when I was on HMS Chatham for the Fleet Review in 2005, and we were Royal Guardship … he wasn’t actually onboard us at any point, but we were Royal Guardship, so I feel able to include that occasion as well.
The second link is via my dad who served on HMS Magpie. Prince Philip was CO of Magpie from 1950. Now, I must add that my dad left Magpie before he took over as CO, but it’s definitely another link. (Magpie was a sloop when dad was on it, but for some reason the Admiralty had reclassified it as a frigate by the time Philip was in command!).
And the final one of course is that he was in the RN, and I was in the RN!
So what? I’m sure you are all thinking that they seem rather tenuous links (However, I have heard and read of even more tenuous links to him in the coverage over the last few days!). Well of course they are, but it does seem to me that through those links I did kind of know him, or certainly have some kind of common ground with him. I am sure that had I actually met him and were able to have a conversation with him face to face we would have been able to chat for some time about events and other things that we had shared. In these days of Social Media and interaction in celebrities lives, many folk think they ‘know’ their heroes etc, but how well can we really know someone we haven’t actually met?
Easter of course is the time when we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus as recorded in the Bible, which reveals who Jesus is by the stories about his life and also about how the early followers of his – men and women who did actually know him – started to spread the news about his life, death and resurrection from the dead. They had actually met him, ate with him, journeyed with him and actually done life with him. They knew him.
So, jumping back to Prince Philip. I know about him, I know the stories, some of those stories actually interleaved with my own story, so I know that he was at Collingwood in 1985, I know that he was present at the Fleet Review and my dad can vouch that this HMS Magpie, that he was CO of, actually existed, as he had painted most of it!!! But he would not be able to pick me out at clear lower deck of the Ships company ….
However as a Christian I believe that my relationship with Jesus is different to this. Yes, I know the stories from the Bible, and I have heard other people’s stories of how they met with Jesus … but through faith I can know him for myself. Personally. That is the knock-on from the Easter story. He was resurrected from the dead, and went to be with his father in heaven, BUT he has promised to be with us if we believe in him, if we have faith. I believed that Prince Philip existed, but there is no way that he could actually be with me or know me. That isn’t the case with Jesus, through his spirit (we call it the Holy Spirit) we can know him in our lives on a daily basis. We can really know him, like the Royal family knew Prince Philip. We can read the stories from the Bible, that’s kinda the introduction to Jesus, but to really know him we have to ask him into our lives and then work at what it means to follow him ….
So do you know Jesus personally or just know about him? Maybe your life has interacted with Jesus in some way, or with someone who knows him, but the question is ‘Who do you say that he is?’ Do you know him ….. ???
See you next time ….
Image Credit: Simone Secci