Luke 13:2 2 "And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Like everyone else I have been engaged in all of the media reporting and blogging of the sudden passing of Michael Jackson and the expected, but early exit of Farah Fawcett. A quick survey of my facebook friends shows everything from sadness to contempt.
Both of the celebrity icons were part of my life. I took down my Alabama runningback Johnny Musso black and white poster and replaced it with the full color poster of Farah. It had to symbolize some sort of rite of passage as I stared at that blonde hair, amazing white teeth, tanned skin, and that bright red swim suit.
Michael Jackson's music was in the background of my memories, but it was his stunning moonwalk on TV during "Billie Jean" that vaulted his persona in my admiration.
But like all celebrities, the glory faded fairly quickly. My poster crush faded without notice and Michael gave me one too many crotch grabs along with very bizarre behavior to give more than a passing nod.
In the end, we should see the person seperately from the iconic symbol. We pray for the person and their family. We do not celebrate their demise. But, it is appropriate to criticize the symbol. Idols fade.
What do Farah and Michael symbolize? The ultimate failure of the world's promises. Fortune, fame, power, and pleasure fill our eyes but break our hearts.
We lust for so much in this life... but are we ready for the next? What does the Scriptures say?
Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
MJ was the sadder of the two in my opinion. He and Elvis remind me of the rich young ruler. He is the bigger symbol also. It is reported that though he brings in over 19M per year, his estate is over 500M in debt! He epitimizes America in an unusual way. We spend, spend, spend thinking that reckoning day never comes.
But it always comes.
People ask me all the time about where America is in the Book of Revelation. I worry right now that it most resembles Babylon. We cry for dead celebrities while our politicians sneak 1300 page bills into a Friday vote. Most of them will approve the cap and trade bill without even reading it.
So I'm right here in it- I am as sinful and as much in need of mercy as anyone. The difference is that I know my need and I cling to the cross now. It is my only hope.
MJ met the fate we all face. He stood in front of the Creator all by himself.
The Father's main question is "What did you do with the offer of salvation through my son? Did you respect my son? Did you embrace my son?"
I get the feeling that God is really not that impressed with moonwalking.
May we allow the symbols to keep our focus fixed on eternity.