Jen’s Gem: Get to know Jesus.
This week, I met 60 Minutes news correspondent and journalist, Scott Pelley. He was speaking at our local community college about his new book, Truth Worth Telling. I’m not sure what compelled me to attend. Perhaps it is the writer in me.
His sixty-minute talk (no pun intended) seemed like five minutes and I could’ve listened to him all day long as he relayed the stories of his career covering the news. His humility, graciousness, and confidence echoed with every word he spoke and many were brought to tears as he shared the intricacies of the people he met while covering world events.
Weeks ago, I attended a John Tesh concert. Again, I can’t tell you what drove me to go, but there I was, listening to the story of another man’s impressive career who was filled with humility and deep thanks for all who helped him climb the ladder of success.
Next week, I’ll be attending a Tony Bennett concert. Yes, you read that right. Tony. Bennett. This icon of music will be performing less than thirty minutes from my town, which is insane in and of itself as he has graced much larger stages and I’m certain much larger audiences.
Oh, how I wish my Dad were alive so we could see him together. While my father adored Frank Sinatra, I do believe he admired and respected Mr. Bennett. Born in 1926, Bennett is only a few years younger than my father. Pretty crazy actually.
I have met a few celebrities during my life. It began when I was in college working at a swanky Hampton’s country club, where I met people like Susan Lucci, Lorne Greene, Dave DeBusschere, and others whose names escape me now.
I’ve been steps away from Sir Elton John in the front row of Madison Square Garden and Jon Bon Jovi in a crowd at a small New Jersey roadhouse. Upon meeting Martha Stewart at our local Costco years ago, I boldly asked her if she would consider my baby journal as one of her “It’s a Good Thing” items. Clearly she declined or I’d be writing this blog from my yacht instead of my home office.
I tend to get a bit star struck when I’m in the presence of celebrities. As they walk on the stage, my heart begins to race. With Sir Elton John, I cried like a two-year old whose sleep toy has been lost. Standing in line for book signings, my mind twirls, pondering what witty quip I might say to garner a laugh or an invitation to their home for Christmas dinner.
Pathetic. Yeah, probably really pathetic.
Since the beginning of the month, I have been reading the New Testament gospels. The pages are filled with people who stood in the presence of the biggest celebrity who ever lived – Jesus. Throngs of people crowded Him wherever He went. Unlike my baffling compulsion to meet celebrities, they knew exactly why they wanted to see Him.
Healings of all sorts. Words of wisdom like no other. Compassion, humility, and love that stood in stark contrast to the tyrants who ruled the people of that time. Thousands flocked to see Him or simply to touch the hem of His tunic so they’d be healed of their afflictions.
Many times, the Son of God had to steal away to a private place simply to decompress after a long day of teaching and healing. I suspect this is similar to singers and performers after a show who need time to “come down” after giving their all to their audiences.
As I read the stories of the many people touched by Jesus, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would’ve reacted if I was in His presence. Would my heart race? Would I cry? Would I be speechless in awe and wonder? All of the above most likely…especially if I witnessed His many miracles like Him raising people from the dead, healing many of dreadful diseases, and multiply a handful of bread and fish to feed tens of thousands.
I wonder what kind of crowds Jesus would get today. Would they fill the likes of Yankee Stadium or a small theater like Mr. Bennett next week? What kind of people would attend? Would they be star struck groupies like me or protesters looking to send Him packing because His message of love and forgiveness does not jive with our modern tenets?
For me, as a believer, I would do all I could to be front and center. I’d empty my bank account to get back stage passes. I’d get my sleeping bag and park myself on a sidewalk in front of the venue just like a Black Friday shopper awaiting the deal of a lifetime.
What would you do?
This week I’d like to encourage you to spend a few minutes contemplating what you would do if you had the opportunity to sit next to the Son of God. How would you act? What would you ask Him if you had the opportunity? On the flip side, if you chose to skip His appearance in your town, ask yourself why.
If you’re not sure what you’d do, I suggest you read any of the four gospels. Once you get to know Jesus, like me, my hunch is you’ll be the first in line to buy a ticket to see Him.