1999, Acts 9, Batdance, Batman, cold war, Darling Nikki, death, Jesus, Let's Go Crazy, Nothing Compares 2U, Prince, progressive Christianity, religion, Resurrection, Tabitha
Dearly Beloved… We are called today to get through this thing called life…
In the midst of our difficult days and questions floating through our heads, we cringed yesterday afternoon when hearing that one who brought the tunes to our childhood and early adult years ceased to be.
No more concerts. No more physical presence among us. No longer here.
I remember the soundtrack of my life. I remember when the ever-so-edgy “Darling Nikki” was sung at the top of my classmates voices during a 1984 slumber party. I probably didn’t know very much about its meaning – I was only 12 – but it was solidly embedded in my culture.
I remember when the words of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2U” comforted me the night of my first real breakup, hearing the soothing melody ring out from Sinead’s voice.
I remember our pom pon routine to the latter part of “Batdance” – the routine we performed on the night I started dating my college boyfriend. And I remember that Arms of Orion was really my favorite tune of his Batman soundtrack.
I remember riding over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as the song “Little Red Corvette” blasted from the tapedeck during the great spring break of 1993. And when I hear that song, I think of my friend who is no longer alive.
I remember the moment in the past year or so when I realized more years had passed since year 1999 than existed between 1984 (the year the song was written) and the actual 1999. And I remember really, really listening to the lyrics of 1999, knowing how frightened I was in the mid-1980’s of the world exploding one day because of nuclear weapons.
It is with great sadness that Prince is no longer alive.
It is with great joy that Prince is still alive.
Here’s what the resurrection stories of all sorts – especially the story of Tabitha in Acts 9 – reminds us: that even after our physical death, our gifts don’t die. While the narrative includes a physical resuscitation of Tabitha, the real miracle was that she was alive before her resurrection through her talents. Like the women surrounding the body of Tabitha at her wake celebrating her gifts and showing off her arts, we have spent the past 24 hours sharing tune after tune of Prince’s most meaningful tunes. We have shared stories passed on to us of what his music meant in our greatest and worst moments of our lives. We have mentioned the narratives we heard about the great things he had done under the radar.
Through the great resurrection narrative of Jesus the Christ, resurrection happens. Songs and stories and shared talents keep people alive.
And that is why Prince remains with us forever.