"The Artist Formerly Known As...."

     The world is shocked, Prince is dead. Last night, I drove past Prince’s music studio in Chanhassen, it was quite a spectacle. The road is closed and maintained by the obvious presence of law enforcement. Massive TV trucks with huge satellite dishes fill the street in front of the compound. The area near the building is packed with faithful fans. They walk in long, solemn lines, with some carrying flowers. These flowers and other expressions of grief adorn the fence. The faithful congregate near the main gate to show their respect. There are tears of sadness over Prince’ passing. I suspect this ritual of remembrance and respect will go on for quite a while.

     However, I am struck by the contrast of public response when another prince died, the Prince of Peace. When Jesus died, no long line of faithful teary-eyed followers mourned the end His life. There were no flowers placed in remembrance of His death.  Only a handful of supporters showed up at His burial.  His passing left the faithful confused and frightened, while some were relieved that Jesus was gone. They viewed it, as a problem solved.

     Please understand that I recognize the talent of the late Prince. He made a vast contribution to the world of music. Truly, he was a musical icon. Still I am often dumb-founded by the adulation the world heaps on celebrities. They are revered, even worshipped by their loyal fans. Oftentimes their lives suffer from many dysfunctions that people over look. It is rumored, and I hope for the sake of Prince’s family that drugs are not the cause of his death. If it’s true, Prince might join the long list of musical notables whose life ended this way. The short list is Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis Presley and Amy Winehouse, just to name a few. The world fails to comprehend that personal wholeness has nothing to do with fame or a fat bank account. Frequently, those who have so much, suffer the most, since all they have can’t fill the void in their lives. Tradically, they try to numb the pain with a host of destructive behaviors that only make a bad situation worse. Again, I hope the last chapter in Prince’s life, will not read this way.

     So how can we counteract the terrible toll life can take on us? What strategy can stem the tide of daily stress? Here is the answer. Love Jesus. Live for Him. Let His peace reign in your heart. It’s the only way to hold your own in this troublesome world. Jesus said, "I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27 NLT) I can’t speak to the spiritual condition of the “The Artist Formally Known As”. However, by now he understands that there is only one Prince in heaven, the Prince of Peace, who sustains us in this life and the next. - PJC