The Death of a King

I am always a little intrigued by the outpouring of grief after the death of a celebrity.  Make no mistake about it, the passing of Michael Jackson is cause for great sorrow… to his family and his three children.  For the rest of us though, you be the judge.  4,100 children starve to death somewhere in the world every single day.  Who mourns for them?  10,000 people die every month in Darfur.  Who mourns for them?  2 million die of AIDS every year, most of them in Africa.  Who mourns for them?  There are now 12 million AIDS orphans in Africa.  So, it is not that Michael Jackson’s death isn’t important, it is just a matter of putting it into perspective.

The King of Pop is dead! It is strangely reminiscent of August 16, 1977 when the headlines read, The King of Rock is Dead. Elvis only made it to 42 years old.  Decades later, crowds still converge on Graceland every August to remember the King.  His early demise was credited to the use and misuse of prescription drugs.  Which incidentally, is already being implicated in MJ’s death.  The dangerously unhealthy lifestyles combined with massive quantities of drugs were really just a symptom of a much deeper problem.

I am an admirer of Jackson’s music.  During his heyday, he was arguably the most creative musical talent on the planet.  (As was Elvis in his day). The person of Michael Jackson was another matter.  I’m trying not to speak ill of the dead but I cannot think of another person who seemed as tormented with who he was than Michael Jackson.  He didn’t like the color of his skin, nor the nap of his hair, nor the shape of his nose, nor the shape of his chin, etc,etc…  By the time he was finished with the plastic surgery he could only be described as being severely disfigured.  All self-inflicted!

The drugs are one thing, but we really need to back up the truck and get a better view.  It would seem nobody is able to live up to the social expectations of a being called a King.  The fascination with Elvis’ death and now MJ’s is only emblematic of what they lived with their entire lives.  The constant media attention and public fawning sent them a perverse message that they really were Kings, that their lives mattered more than the rest of us mere mortals and that perhaps the world did revolve around them.  The end results were profoundly disturbed men caught up in self-indulged and narcissistic existences.  Both these men lived deeply troubled lives.

My conclusion in the matter is; being crowned King is bad for your health! I’m not just being cute, I am quite serious.  Only Jesus was qualified to bear the title King.  And incidentally after being crowned a King, He too was dead within a few hours.

Both Elvis and MJ were on spiritual journeys that ended badly.  Elvis once knew the Lord and sang gospel like nobody else.  Those close to him say he drifted far from God as fame, fortune and amphetamines took over his life and eventually claimed it.  Jackson was raised Jehovah’s Witness but was excommunicated after the JW brass were less than thrilled with his Thriller video.  Friends say that last year he converted to Islam in search of some spiritual meaning in an otherwise confused existence.

In a way many are guilty of Elvis’ and MJ’s sin.  Judges 17:6 says, In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. When we fail to recognize Christ as King we crown ourselves as king.  At that point we have an unqualified and dangerous person on the throne and the end result will never be pretty.