I just saw it: my first “Michael Jackson faked his own death” headline.
What is it that makes us do that? Why do we want to keep the memories so alive of people who are gone that we suspend all intellectual honesty to do it?
I think that famous people are beyond personhood to us. Their significance approximates that of holidays or familiar flavors or world-changing events. Something about their lives impacts our lives in a way that makes a mark and proves not just that they existed – but that we did as well. If Michael Jackson is really just gone, what do I do with my memories of my junior year when everyone at my Christian school smuggled in cassette tapes of Beat It like they were sneaking drugs over the border? It’s not that the memory dies with him…but it definitely gets pretty old pretty fast. It finds its way to a file further back in the cabinet.
Losing a superstar like we have recently makes us also look at questions of afterlife geography. Those who are normally very confident in their assertion that there IS no life after death have to swallow hard and reexamine that position.
For me, last week made me look not at my death, but at my life. Am I doing things that matter? Am I living for more than the moment? Am I living now for the day when I will run into the arms of Jesus and tell Him the stories of my field trip to a fallen planet?
Oh, I love Him. And I love the promise of forever.