Janis, Jimmy and Amy … is 27 too old?

With the tragic death of Amy Winehouse, we add another name to the tragic list of musicians that died at age 27 (see the wiki here).

I think the hardest thing about hearing of Amy’s passing is that it was really no big surprise to anyone. In ministry, there are times that we can see someone headed for something and all our shouting or waving arms can’t keep them from crashing.

Which brings me to a couple important foundational ministry things that I place me feet on as I try and process the “we all saw this coming” sickness in my stomach…

First, it’s the Holy Spirit that causes change.  I am here to be used by God, through words, actions and whatever He’s set up for me to do. But I am not the changer, I am merely a tool.  Even though I may have the correct argument locked and loaded, it’s not my persuasiveness that changes a heart, it’s the spirit working on the inside of a person. God is the one that changes hearts.

Second, pain is there for a reason.  When we feel pain it’s to alert us to something wrong we need to deal with.  “Dave, that arrow sticking out of your leg… we probably should do something about it.”

I’m sure that Amy’s famous song about “rehab” really, deeply was about not wanting to have to deal with the pain in her life, but to just keep masking it.  It’s a lot harder to deal with pain than just keep covering it up… dealing with the pain usually means we have to be honest with ourselves and with God – something we’re naturally not very quick to do.

I hope that as you deal with Amy’s death with your group that you can help your students see that this is more than a “yeah… saw that one coming,” but that we can really hurt for the a life where pain was never dealt with and continued masking created a life that was over too soon.

P.S. We’ve included a link to our re:tuned discussion of Amy’s song Rehab … hopefully this will help.

Mark Pittman

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