“Did you hear about Michael Jackson?” she said as she opened the door for me.
Nobody asked about Ed McMahon. Nobody will remember where they were when they heard about Farrah Fawcett.
But the king of pop died. And that meant a perfect stranger on the street in San Francisco felt compelled to ask if I’d heard.
Who is going to ask about you when you die? Will perfect strangers share their favorite memories of you?
Say what you want to about Michael. But when I traveled to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, the village children who knew three words of English also knew to yell out “Michael Jackson” as I walked along the road. He impacted every corner of the globe.
So yes, there has been media hype over his death. But it’s only overly hyped when the media is talking about something that everyone else isn’t. And in this case, we are all talking about it, too.
Don’t drive past the significance. The world is reeling from a loss. We’ve lost something of value. The church, however, should be careful not to chastise folks for worshipping Michael Jackson. Instead, we should show them a Jesus who is more worthy of worship.
See, in a year there will be a few people who celebrate the anniversary of Michael’s death. In 5 years he’ll get a made-for-TV documentary, or a mention on late-night television. In 30 years he’ll be something that everyone’s parents talk about. But every single Sunday between now and then, over a billion people will gather in homes, dorm rooms, condos, elementary school gyms, bars, and auditoriums around the world to remember the death and ressurection of Jesus.
Michael is a big deal, sure. But Jesus ought to be a bigger one. Just not one that TMZ is going to break the story on.
And you just might hear talk of it from a perfect stranger on the street. But that’s pretty normal.