Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Michael Jackson & Sacred Space

This has been a year of deaths: my wife's mother in November, my father in May,Michael Jackson several weeks ago, and my good friend Ruth Herzog last Monday. All life is precious and all death aches. When death comes, we long for the sacred and the transcendent, the greatest context that gives our lives meaning and coherence. In our families, that is found as we naturally fall back into the arms of the local church body, the community of faith that sustained and carried us.
In both my mother-in-law and my dad's case, it was our "home churches" in Richmond Virginia and St. Paul Minnesota that became the setting for grief, hope, sharing and family. They were totally natural because lives were invested within these walls and among these people.
When I glanced through photos of the Michael Jackson memorial yesterday, I could not help but sense that same longing among his family and friends; the sacred and transcendent. The photo of stained glass in the Staples Center was a curious hint of that sacred hunger.

Yet the final image was more about the myth of our own immortality and less about Jesus victory over death. I could not help but wish that he and they had a home church.


At 8:04 AM , Blogger ed said...

This is religion!

At 3:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Yes!--not only the stained glass window, but the music which had its gospel "feel". It made my heart ache to see these people recognize what should be so important to their existance, and yet be so far from the faith that could fill them. These are obviously people who care--look how they hovered around the three children--wanting to love, protect, and comfort them. If only they could find Jesus. So sad, so sad.

At 4:30 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Is it clear that they do not know Jesus? It was a different sort of gathering and clearly a hunger for a faith context. Is it ecclessiology or soteriology that is the issue here?

At 6:04 AM , Blogger ed said...

Ecclesiastical trappings and salvation themes underscored human cravings disguised as an extravaganza.

At 7:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your're right, we don't know whether or not they (or some of them) know Jesus. We also don't know for sure whether or not they (or some of them) have a church home. But I think there is a difference between knowing Jesus and "finding" Jesus, which is the word I used. Perhaps it is different for those of you who were born and raised in the faith, but in my experience at least, feeling connected to Jesus sometimes eludes me. While I KNOW Jesus every day of my life, I must say, it is not always possible to FIND him--to feel his love and care--at those moments in my life when I feel I need it, or, to simply feel a connectedness on a daily basis. It's all to easy to slip back into an unchurched mentality, even after 40 years of being a Christian. I might guess that being in the whirlwind of the entertainment industry, the Jacksons might also feel a disconnectedness, yet, have a longing for things that are spiritual. And perhaps I was stretching it to say that they are far from the faith that can fill them, but that was my observation watching the service on TV. Whether or not this is an ecclesiological or soteriological, well, I'll have will leave that question to the theologians--even though I did look up both the words! :) Have a good day. I enjoy your blog. Even if I signed my name, you wouldn't know me. I am just a member of a Covenant Church who stumbled upon your blog a long time back. I do read it regularly. It always stretches me, and that's a great thing. Thanks. LAV

At 1:06 PM , Blogger E Erickson said...

AMEN - that's the best comment I've read about that whole memorial - I restrained from watching it, but did buy and read the People magazine - to get the info on his kids...will be praying for them!


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