Since Father Time took the great David Bowie, I have read numerous speculations about what might have been the state of his soul. Bowie, the consummate showman and actor, was a very private man, refreshing in the age of instant everything. So there isn’t a lot to go on, and I am never one to speculate on such things, leaving that to a power infinitely higher than I. But a friend sent me an encouraging piece that doesn’t bother with speculation: “Why David Bowie Knelt and Said the Lord’s Prayer at Wembley Stadium.” Yeah, I didn’t know that either. The title on the video of him kneeling in prayer: “The Bravest Moment in Rock & Roll History.” Given that sex and drugs are two words most often associated with rock ‘n roll, such a prayer before a hundred thousand rock fans could most definitely be called brave.
As I read this piece and then looked at the video of him kneeling before the crowd saying the Lord’s Prayer, I started to see another video for the song “Lazarus” from his final album, Blackstar, in a different light. (The name of the song kind of gives it away if you’re familiar with the biblical story of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead.) Bowie had to be a fan of C.S. Lewis to use a wardrobe so prominently. If you look carefully at the beginning of the song you’ll see a young man open the wardrobe and stare at Bowie laying on what looks like a hospital bed. He starts with the words, “Look up here, I’m in heaven.” The young man appears to become older as the video goes on; maybe an alter ego? Bowie writes in a journal as he struggles with what could be his last thoughts. You’ll notice a skull on the desk as he writes, a la MacBeth? To be or not to be? Ah mortality, the great equalizer, the great question mark over human existence. Leave it to Bowie to ask the most profound of questions as he exits this mortal coil. In the last scene we see Bowie backing into the wardrobe from which the young man came, and shutting the door. Godspeed in Narnia, David Bowie. Thank you for the joy you brought untold millions over so many years.