"We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character, and character, hope." - Romans 5:3-4
He blazed onto the stage of our musical tastes wearing heels, ruffles and eye-liner; and wielding a guitar with a certain surrealism that echoed the genius of Jimi Hendrix. And when he played his instruments and voiced his lyrics we were citizens of his paisley world.
We were with him in the purple rain. We heard doves cry. We partied with him up to and beyond 1999. And the crazy cool funk of his sound had many of us resonating with 'Pop Life'.
His rhythms were not without the blues and we could see the tears in the Purple Rain. But he didn't try to hide the somber gravity of his songs. His melancholic meditations were as palpable as his spiritual passion, his penchant for androgynous attire, and his rebellion against what he perceived to be corporate infringements on his intellectual property.
A man often described as a recluse, he spoke loudly and clearly through his music.
We feel the pleasure, the pain and the pathos of it all. And we are somehow lifted because in him we have glimpsed again how God uses suffering and strife to produce character and hope.
"Pop Life. Everybody needs a thrill. Pop Life. We all got a space 2 fill. Pop Life. Everybody can't be on top. But life it ain't real funky unless it's got that pop. Dig it."
Thank you, Prince, for reminding us of all the good and bad it takes to make life pop.
Check out 'Pop Life' here.
God, take all that we are and make it pop. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.