Tuesday, April 2, 2013

“Me, Elvis & Jesus”

“Me, Elvis & Jesus”
I was born and raised in the Holy Land of Rockin Roll, Memphis Tennessee. Growing up we found our city identity as the hometown of Elvis Vernon Presley. While a new generation has no reference to exactly who Elvis was and what he meant to music, they identify with another hometown guy Justin Timberlake. I am the perfect age to have appreciated both. There was a phenomenon with both these men and maybe it was with all hometown celebrities but as you would travel around town you would hear of “Elvis sightings” or “Justin Timberlake sightings”.
You could walk into a restaurant and there would be a sort of electricity in the air and people would quickly tell you, Justin Timberlake was in here or Elvis ate here on time.
This week after the crescendo to Easter, we sort of go on with Spring never looking back. In a somber moment I honestly wish those of us who follow Jesus were more like Elvis fans. Unless you have witnessed it yourself, you cannot imagine that 35 years after his death hundreds of thousands of fans gather from all over the world to light a candle, listen to his music, and to share with one another how Elvis’s music touched their lives. It is literally breath taking to witness a sea of strangers of different ages, different ethnicities, and different social classes all coming together as one to share in the Elvis experience. While 99% of the people believe that Elvis is physically dead there are 1% that still believes Elvis faked his own death and is living in a retirement home in Michigan. But if you experience Elvis Death Week in Memphis you will clearly see that Elvis is not dead. Yes, he died on August 16, 1977 but his presence is very much still alive. There are hundreds of Elvis impersonators, people still listen to his music, tour his house, and share their Elvis experience with anyone who will listen. The fans of Elvis have a devotion, sincerity, compassion, commitment, commonality, and resolve that I wish we had for
Jesus. I am not saying Elvis was like Jesus, but what if after Easter we followers of Jesus emulated the fans of Elvis. What if we didn’t care about age, social class, denominations, and ethnicities and gathered to share our experiences with Jesus. I want to share with the next generation my Jesus experiences and sightings. Wonder what our community would look like if we told how Jesus affected our life with the same zeal. What if we worshipped with the same electricity to celebrate God’s love for us with the same intensity as if Jesus was in the building? What would our relationship with Christ be like if we loved others in the same fanaticism as Elvis fans? Elvis said early in his career, "Music and religion are similar--because both should make you wanna move." I believe EP was right. The gospel is a living, vibrant force that should make us wants to get out and move, move around in the world, move towards each other in love and compassion, move towards bringing others into the kingdom. I don’t want to be Thomas (please overlook the irony) who waited for proof. I want to join with others who have devotion, sincerity, compassion, commitment, and resolve to be a fan of Jesus. I want a religion that makes me wanna move. I don’t want to stop the momentum of Easter, ever. I want a savior that makes me wanna put on a sequin jump suit and sing. I want to believe in a Jesus that lives. I want to live like Jesus is alive and is in the building…