Last week, pop superstar Prince died suddenly, and the Internet, TV and radio were quickly flooded with remembrances and tributes.
His death was even more shocking and tragic, considering that the entertainer was just 57 years old.
Similarly to David Bowie, who died in January, in the week following his death, Prince’s album reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart for the first time in more than a decade.
Scroll through a social media feed, and there’s a good chance that much of the conversations involve the legacy and influence of the celebrity who is now gone.
Any death is cause for mourning. But, in a culture of celebrity, when a famous person dies, there’s a collective mourning that’s almost unparalleled—even when compared to tragedies of a mass scale.
But, how should Christians react—not only to the death of someone who’s work gave him notoriety, but also to the anonymous victims of violence, illness or tragedy?
No Respecter of Persons
In Romans 2, Paul is discussing God’s judgement. During the passage—which is ultimately about showing grace (“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else”)—Paul uses one of the Gospel’s great truths to underscore the way in which God demonstrates judgement: “For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:11)
The King James version famously says, “For there is no respect of persons with God.”