I woke at dawn one chilly January morning in a luxurious bedroom where the evening before a maid had knocked at the door asking if she might close my curtains for me and turn back the bed cover. She also, I later noticed, left me a beautifully wrapped dark chocolate on the pillow. I woke that next wintry day to the fabulous sight of the snow-dusted round tower of a castle. I was a privileged guest at St George’s House, part of Windsor Castle, a residential study centre established by the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. To this day, St George’s remains a place where people from widely different backgrounds gather together to grapple with issues pertinent to our contemporary world.
There’s nothing so stimulating as thinking out with others the implications of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and of his teaching and his example. But we all do well to heed the gentle rebuke of Jesus to Thomas, the doubting disciple, who declared he would not believe until he had seen the risen Jesus for himself. Later Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’
During this Eastertide, as we continue to give thanks to God for the long and fruitful life of Prince Philip, let us also carry in our hearts our dear Queen Elizabeth – not only as someone who, together with her family, now passes through the lonely and numbing experience of personal loss and grief – but also as someone who ‘came to believe’, and whose life and words have so regularly commended to others an unshakeable conviction about the truth and reality of the risen Lord and God, Jesus Christ.
The Rev’d Dr Richard Hines