If we were asked today to summarize our entire lives with a sign or symbol, could we do it, and what would it be?
I’m not talking about our life in public. I’m not talking about our childhood, professional life, or even our personal private lives. I mean our entire lives.
Is it possible for any human to summarize their entire life with a symbol?
Perhaps for some, that symbol would be a mathematical variable because there are many things yet unknown about them.
Others perhaps believe they could be symbolized by a zodiac sign because their temperament depends largely on the position of the sun.
Still others believe their entire lives could be adequately symbolized by a star, or a tree, or even the earth itself.
I’m one of those romantic hopeless souls that believes it is very difficult to characterize an entire life with a symbol.
As humans, we have good days and we have bad days. We have days we’re very confident, and days we’re very weak. We have days that are illustrious, and days not so much.
The person we are today, the symbol we would use for our lives today, isn’t the symbol we would use to characterize our lives tomorrow or next week.
Certainly, Christians follow a man whose very beautiful, lonely and complex life has been summarized by a symbol.
Jesus’ entire life from birth to resurrection, from miracle to miracle, from public ministry to his private life can be summarized by an empty cross.
The cross has come to symbolize to Christians, that Jesus came to this world with integrity and compassion, to save it.
He couldn’t be bought or sold by the political establishment. He couldn’t be fooled.
He taught Himself the scriptures, and he used His talent to liberate His people. And when the authorities made any attempt to marginalize him or his people, he went crazy.
He spoke truth to power. He stood up, stood out, and held out for justice.
Right now, we are celebrating the legacy of another man whose entire life could be summarized by a symbol.
We call him the Purple One. We call him one of the Beautiful Ones. We call him the Prince.
He taught himself how to play seven instruments. He was self-taught. And he became a musical genius by teaching himself.
And he had tremendous integrity. When record houses came to compromise the integrity of his art, and his song book, and his own rights to his own work, he held out, he fought, he lashed out, he held out to preserve the integrity of his music.
He was a Christian. In 2001, he converted to the Jehovah Witness faith and was not only a member in good standing, he went door to door to talk with people about his faith.
And he used his art, he used his gift to empower and speak to his people with songs like Controversy Baltimore and Sign of the Times.
He called on us to fight oppression and marginalization, the same way Jesus calls on us to fight oppression with everything that’s in us.
So it seems to me, whether we are serious Prince fans, casual fans, or don’t not know much about him at all, the best way to honor him is not necessarily by listening to his songs, but by doing precisely what he did.
It occurs to me that we should do whatever it takes to improve our minds; be serious about fulfilling our calling and potential.
We can use our voices and talents to fight against the oppression of others.
And when the elevator tries to break us down, when it attempts to oppress us, or body shame us, or even rewrite our existence, we don’t let it.
We do what Jesus would do. We do what Prince would do.
We go crazy.