Not many of us will have escaped the news and subsequent stories surrounding the recent death of David Bowie. Whilst he has undoubtedly written many classic songs, I had never been a big fan. But I was blown away just before Christmas when I heard his astonishing single ‘Blackstar’. It is an incredible mixture of jazz, rock, avant-garde, and electronic music. And it is 10 minutes long! It wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it.
And so when David Bowie died mere days after the release of his last album, I felt particularly saddened, not because of all he had done in the past, but because he seemed to be on the cusp of some really exciting and innovative work. He still had such potential. And what has become clear over the last few weeks is that Bowie had been aware that he did not have long to live, and so had thrown himself into a really intense final period of creativity, resulting in Blackstar (and more).
For me, this attitude and creative decision making had real resonances with the Methodist Covenant Prayer, which some of us will have recently prayed. In the face of God’s love and promises to us, and at the beginning of a new year, we consider once more what really matters in life, what we want to give our life to, and – perhaps – choose again to give ourselves into the life of faith:
“I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and heartily yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.”
And we are now about to enter the period of Lent; another opportunity for us to make the time and space to reflect on what it means to live our lives for Jesus, to ask what God might be calling us to, to explore the potential for creativity and compassion within each of us.
Unlike David Bowie, most of us haven’t been told when we will die. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the time to consider what really matters in life, what we should be spending our days and weeks doing.
A sentiment like “you should live each day as if it is your last” is probably a bit of an empty one. But to continue offering ourselves to God, to actively seek the fullness of life which Jesus promises us, and to be open to the possibilities the year holds seems to be quite a good way to live!
For anyone who is interested and available, we will be having a short Ash Wednesday service at 11am on Wednesday 10th February…it should be a peaceful and reflective way to begin Lent…