Diana often gave her attention to those most common people would have no association with. She was famous for her love of children and issues concerning them. One of Diana's most significant aspirations came during a visit to an AIDS hospital ward. Standing among AIDS stricken patients, Diana reached out in a compassionate gesture that deeply touched many, and probably shocked and enraged some. Without the protective gloves, Diana took the hand of a man dying of AIDS and embraced another; all with a smile that was captured on film to assure the moment lived forever.
One of Diana's last efforts was the abolition of anti-personnel landmines. Diana wore a flack-jacket and face shield to tour the mine-infested countryside of the foreign land. She visited primitive hospitals where children lay recovering from the loss of one or more limbs because of a landmine. She saw others learning to use their new prosthetic limbs. This love for all people will be Diana's legacy.
Only God knows where Diana rests today, but it is not the state of her soul or her private actions that we focus on, but rather, what made Diana the Queen of Hearts around the world while the royal family remained the object of widespread criticism. What set Diana apart is what should set us, as Christians, apart.
As Christians, we consider ourselves part of the Royal Family of God. Once we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we become heirs with Him and are guaranteed a place in His Kingdom. We are guaranteed not to endure the eternal sufferings of hell, and we are given the confidence of knowing that our eternity will be one of everlasting communion with the King Himself.
However, we are often too much like the earthly royal family. At least that is how we are perceived in the world's eyes. How people perceive you becomes who you are to them, truthful or not. Certainly the royal family felt great grief and sorrow, but showed no outward sign of their grief. This is the position in which we, as Christians, often find ourselves.
By setting herself apart, Diana showed the church how Christ wishes us to be set apart. He commands us to go into the world and get our feet dirty in foreign lands, even if it means risking rejection and safety. He commands us to share our struggles, so we can support others going through similar trials He commands us to be concerned with the lives and souls of the lost. He commands us to offer our hearts and our hands, not just our words or even just our prayers. He tells us that people must know we are Christians by our actions. It is not enough to be a Christian, must profess our Christianity into the world.
The royal family of God has an privilege earthly kingdoms lack in that anyone can become a member of the His kingdom. It is our job as ambassadors of His kingdom to beyond the church walls and share the love of Christ and bring others into His kingdom.
Diana felt she had an obligation as a princess. She sacrificed her privacy and personal life, yet she was welcomed wherever she went because those she visited knew she was coming to help them, not to judge or condemn them. They could see the reality in her eyes, hear it in her voice, and feel it in her touch. It is time to take the love of God to all the world. It is not a choice for us, it is an obligation as children of God.
Let us not just look back on what Princess Diana did, but follow her steps and set ourselves apart. Let us take the unconditional love of Christ with sincerity and honesty out into the world for all to see so we may bring the world into the kingdom of God.
When I awoke this morning, I had no idea this would be the last day anyone would see Princess Diana on this earth?
Painting done by Glynis Barnes-Mellish
Princess Diana's funeral on September 6, 1997, seemed perfectly fitting . Several million people lined the streets to watch the procession from St. James's Palace to Westminster Abbey. More were in Hyde Park to watch the funeral on huge television screens set up for the occasion. Several speakers were Diana's sisters, Jane and Sarah, Tony Blair, Prime Minister of England, and Diana's brother, Earl Charles Spencer. Elton John sang his rewritten version of "Candle in the Wind". Over all, the funeral was very touching, bringing this unfortunate chapter of history to a close. Later, Princess Diana was brought to Althorp to be buried at the Spencer ancestral home.
GOODBYE ENGLAND'S ROSE
Goodbye England's rose.
May you ever grow in our hearts.
You were the grace that placed itself
where lives were torn apart.
You called out to our country,
and you whispered to those in pain.
Now you belong to heaven,
and the stars spell out your name.
And it seems to me you lived your life
like a candle in the wind,
never fading with the sunset when the rain set in.
And your footsteps will always fall here,
along England's greenest hills;
Your candle's burned out long before
your legend ever will.
Loveliness we've lost,
these empty days without your smile.
This torch we'll always carry
for our nation's golden child.
And even though we try,
the truth brings us to tears;
All our words cannot express
the joy you brought us through the years.
Goodbye England's rose,
from a country lost without your soul,
Who'll miss the wings of your compassion
more than you'll ever know.
~by Elton John~