The untimely and sudden death of Diana, Princess Wales, brought much of Britain - and many in other nations - to a standstill. An unprecedented week of tearful mourning reflected the popularity of this humanitarian and compassionate, but flawed and driven, princess.
The response to her death focused world attention on the media, and on the British Monarchy. Both are perceived to be in need of change. The media's avaricious desire to satisfy public demand (no demand, no intrusion, no money) is seen to have contributed both to the unhappiness of the Princess and to her death. The Monarchy is popularly perceived as too distant from the feelings of the public and too bound by tradition. Demands are made for both institutions to change.
Not so much analyzed is the spirit which pervaded the public response to Diana's untimely death. What happened to the proverbial British "stiff upper lip"? Is the outpouring of heart-on-sleeve sentiment significant? Does it reflect a transformation of society?
Spirit of the Age
The life-style - at least as portrayed in the media - of the Princess sums up the spirit of our age. She was "everybody's princess". There was a mix. Her outpouring of compassion for the margins of society, for the sick, for the injured endeared her to millions. This was what we look for in those with influence. Then her turbulent passage from one personal relationship to another, perhaps a legacy of her disturbed childhood, perfectly reflected the life-style of the majority. It, too, captures the spirit of our age. And the Princess's high profile mingling with the world of fashion and Hollywood-style glamour - in contrast to the other equally hardworking, but low-profile, members of the British Royal family - also captured the aspirations of our hedonistic society.
Diana has been described as intensely religious. This was not the outward form which many see as sterile and irrelevant, but another reflection of our age: worship and believe as you please. Don't be concerned about morality. De inclusive. And her frequent dallying with clairvoyants and mystics - a sinful practice all too common in the aristocracy - is so "new age".
In sum, the death of the Princess and the world's response highlights a momentous change that is sweeping the planet. From the Pope's ardent devotion to and advocacy of the Virgin Mary, through to the prevailing belief that each of us - without external interference - makes up our own moral framework, to the concept that all forms of faith are equally relevant: this is the spirit of our age.
But it's not the divine Spirit.
However, this view - the spirit of ancient Babylon - flies in the face of the revelation of the Almighty sovereign God through the Scriptures. Public opinion is notoriously out-of-step with what God requires.
Mankind has never perfectly reflected the will of God in our public institutions. But only to the degree that those in the public eye set the example of a true godly lifestyle will society properly function.
The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, may mark a watershed for our nation and for the world. It may launch us farther along the path to a unity without truth, to acceptance of any lifestyle we individually choose, to a pleasure-driven morality where our need for faith is expressed in superficial good works to the exclusion of real repentance from our appalling personal and national sins. And to a gullible acceptance of every charismatic display that is prophesied in the Scriptures to burst on our planet.
Such a view will inevitably bring upon us the painful correcting hand of our loving Creator...
...unless there is heart-felt personal and national repentance.
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For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Volume 1 Issue 6, November/December 1997. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.
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