On Monday morning, when I opened my USA TODAY (January 11, 2016), I was intrigued by a headline in the LIFE section that said: “Bowie obliterates boundaries on his blazing ‘Blackstar.’” 1
The article said:
“Has there ever been a pop star cooler than David Bowie?
Through a career spanning nearly 50 years and a wide assortment of styles and genres — including a few he helped pioneer — this multifaceted artist and personality has continued to pique our curiosity without compromising or embarrassing himself.
Not all of Bowie’s projects have been mind-blowing, of course; but his latest album, Blackstar —released Friday, his 69th birthday — is an unqualified triumph. Texturally adventurous, sonically stunning and full of both ambivalence and yearning, it reveals a musician who has seldom acknowledged boundaries or courted accessibility in top form, with accessible results.” 1
The problem is: David Bowie never saw the headline I was reading on Monday morning. He died on Sunday.
According to The Telegraph: “Tony Visconti, the producer who worked with Bowie to complete his final album has released a statement saying it was deliberately created and timed as a parting gift … It now appears the singer and those closest to him arranged its release at the end of his life, after 18 months of living with cancer.” 2
The lyrics to the signature song on his latest album, Lazarus, begin with these words: “Look up here, I’m in Heaven.” The video features the musician in a hospital bed and finishes with him retreating into a dark closet. If that’s supposed to be a picture of Heaven, it’s not the Heaven described in the Bible. (If you want to know what the Bible says about Heaven click here.)
The English singer/songwriter who co-wrote FAME with John Lennon sold 140 million albums and played Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), dead at 69.
The Bible says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). But most of us don’t do that. We don’t number our days because we think we have an endless number coming. We don’t talk about death or even think about it much unless we have to and then, we try to change the subject. No one wants to acknowledge what the Bible promises, “It’s appointed unto man once to die and after that, the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
James warns us, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). That would be depressing if that was all there was. David Bowie’s picture of Heaven, walking into a dark closet, is equally if not more depressing.
But that’s not how our lives have to end.
Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going. Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:1-6).
Matthew Henry said, “It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our final day.”
So, are you preparing?
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
1 King, Jimmy. "Bowie Obliterates Boundaries on His Blazing 'Blackstar'" n.d.: n. pag. Print.
2 Furness, Hannah. "David Bowie's Last Release, Lazarus, Was 'parting Gift' for Fans in Carefully Planned Finale." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 13 Jan. 2016. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.