Missed opportunity?

I can’t help but think that there was a missed opportunity yesterday.

Millions of people across this vast globe watched the Michael Jackson memorial service on TV and a few select people were able to be there in person.  I for one did not watch, but saw and heard a number of sound bites no matter the station I was watching (even ESPN had a couple sound bites).  Now…I don’t want to generalize this memorial service but I can’t help but think that it was probably no different than any other celebrity’s memorial service.

What was the missed opportunity?

Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him we have redemption through his (Jesus) blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Imagine if that verse were read at the memorial service (or one like it).  Imagine if the Gospel were preached in all it’s purity.  Imagine if people across the globe got a chance to hear celebrities witness to their faith (if there is indeed faith there to be witnessed to).  Like I said…I wasn’t there, didn’t watch and I don’t know the people in attendance.  But the sound bites I heard never once mentioned Jesus, God, faith or anything of the sort.  Missed opportunity.

With memorial services like this the tendency is to focus on the person who has died.  There are stories told to highlight what a great person they were.  There are facts shared that illustrate what a difference the person made in the lives of others.  There are tears shed and emotions laid out for all to see.  No doubt that Michael Jackson had an influence on many people, loved many people and helped many people.  No doubt that he will be missed and mourned for a long time.  But as with any person on this vast planet…Michael Jackson was a sinner.

Don’t get me wrong…he was no worse than anyone else, but he was a sinner.  I am a sinner.  You are a sinner.  But despite those facts Ephesians 1:7 is true for you and me and Michael Jackson.  I wish this was shared with the millions of people that were watching…and mourning.  Missed opportunity.

Funerals are an excellent opportunity to preach the Gospel to people that normally would not put themselves in a situation to hear the Gospel preached (i.e. they don’t come to worship unless it is Easter, Christmas or a funeral).  We can’t miss these opportunities.  People are searching for answers and reassurance.  What a missed opportunity to share with people that because of what Jesus has done and through faith we will all be together again.

Death doesn’t have to be good bye, but rather see you later.

The memorial service yesterday was an opportunity that was missed and will never come again.  Take advantage of situations in your life to preach the Gospel, share the Good News of forgiveness and proclaim the gift of life we have from God through Jesus Christ.

Let’s not miss opportunities.


3 thoughts on “Missed opportunity?

  1. I don’t remember the particulars, but there was some spiritual stuff in the little bit that I saw, and it was consistent with Christianity. I think it was a prayer given in the name of Christ. MJ’ mother was/is Jehovah Witness. Could that have influenced the spiritual part of this? In any case, while I agree with your point, it would also be at the discretion of those who planned this and what their faith was and what the purpose of the event was.

    One the extreme end of the spectrum, at the Lutheran funeral of a beloved family member, there were to be no personal remembrances besides the basic recitation of the obituary, because the worship service was to focus on Christ. Other church groups go on and on about the deceased.

    It seems to me that the purpose of yesterday’s event was heartfelt musical remembrances of a person who loved being showy by people who love being showy. That was accomplished.

    • You make a good point about the purpose of the event and that this purpose is at the discretion of those who planned it. But I still believe a great opportunity was missed.

      As for funerals that I preside at: I don’t mind remembrances during worship as long as they don’t get too long…and…I get the last word. I want the Gospel to be the last thing people hear in the worship service.

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