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Prince, originally Prince Rogers Nelson and formerly referred to as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,” was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Today, in Minnesota, he passed away.

And a few (embarrassing) posts from Christians in social media are already declaring his soul in hell.

I for one choose to believe the very best. My desire is for every person to enjoy eternity with Christ. No doubt, we all have a choice to make.

And I’m not sure in what condition Prince died.

But I am sure that the Prince of Peace died for him.

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4

My hopes are high; especially after reading (and singing) the lyrics of his song “The Cross”:

Black day, stormy night
No love, no hope in sight
Don’t cry, he is coming
Don’t die without knowing the cross
Ghettos to the left of us
Flowers to the right
There’ll be bread for all of us
If we can just bear the cross

Sweet song of salvation
A pregnant mother sings
She lives in starvation
Her children need all that she brings

We all have our problems
Some big, some are small
Soon all of our problems
Will be taken by the cross

Black day, stormy night
No love, no hope in sight
Don’t cry for he is coming
Don’t die without knowing the cross

Ghettos to the left of us
Flowers to the right
There’ll be bread for all, y’all
If we can just, just bear the cross, yeah

We all have our problems
Some are big, some are small
Soon all of our problems, y’all
Will be taken by the cross

Prince was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist. He became a household name while selling millions of records, and singing about one-night stands and sexual positions. But through all that, he always declared himself a Christian.

Things changed in 2001 when Prince converted to Jehovah’s Witness. He has even admitted to proselytizing, that is, knocking on random doors to hand out Watchtower magazine and preach his faith.

Cool hair and all.

f72b759bd6cf60477a6650a45f35de8aBy the end of his life, he was preaching the virtues of a moral life, in contrast with many of his song lyrics. He said: “When I look at the violence, I wonder where the parents are, but also where is God in their lives? A kid is an open computer ready for programming. Some weird relationships happen, smoking too early and sex.”

 wrote, In 2013, the writer Touré wrote “I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon.” In it, he explored the Christianity he found at the root of much of Prince’s music. “The amount of discussion of sex is this much,” Touré said during an interview with The Observer, holding his hands a foot apart, “and the amount of discussion of religion and spirituality and God and Jesus is this much” — doubling the space between his hands.

Prince’s guitarist Dez Dickerson describes Prince as a “guy who really is thoughtful and introspective and holds religious considerations close to his heart and ponders those questions sincerely and genuinely and deeply.”

As CNN.com shared, “Word of his death sparked a massive outpouring of grief on social media, outside his famed studios and even from the White House. Fans rushed to record stores to pick up vinyl and other Prince memorabilia. Some said the icon’s death “is what it sounds like when doves cry,” a reference to his monster hit from 1984. “As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader and an electrifying performer,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement. ” ‘A strong spirit transcends rules,’ Prince once said — and nobody’s spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative.”

And good news is that we are also reading an incredible amount of grace about Prince from the Christian community.

From all over the world, believers in Jesus, whether they agreed with his choices or not, are demonstrating the love of Christ.

Shawn Bolz wrote, “Celebrating the life of Prince. So sad he died but so grateful he had some very strong God encounters and that several of my friends preached the gospel to him. He will be missed!”

The gospel is the good news of God’s incredible love, demonstrated through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

It’s the story of redemption and hope.

A declaration of sweetness and joy.

And when anyone passes away, our message stays the same. It’s the one Jesus preached already in John 3:17:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

For everyone who has been a witness to the mercy of God in their own life, this is the song we sing tonight.

RIP Prince.

 

*For more Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

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When God Speaks to Katy Perry

Shia LaBeouf gets Born Again

The Christianity of Brad Pitt