“Mommy, that boy over there looks like the alien.”
“Mia, that’s not nice. What alien?!”
“You, know, the alien guy from that show. The guy who died.”
“Oh. You mean Robin Williams. Mork?”
Needless to say, my little girls like to watch reruns with Grandma.
Even my children have not escaped grieving the death of a man the vast majority of we wanna-be mourners never knew.
A man we never knew.
What did we know, though? We knew he was talented. We knew he was famous. And rich. And, perhaps, handsome. We knew he was well-received, admired, and quite popular for several generations. We knew that most of what he did was decent, clean, humorous, and done with excellence. We knew we liked his work. We knew we liked his many accomplishments. We knew we liked him. We really, really liked him.
Nevertheless, we did not know this man. We never ate with him. We did not converse. He never called us when he won, or, when he lost. He never asked for our help or for our children’s names. We never spent the day hiking or picnicking or celebrating one another’s birthdays. We did not know his address, his favorite meal, or his pets’ names. We did not know his joy, his pain, his sins, or his struggles. So why do we feel so attached to him and to his family’s loss?
Well, we liked him. We really, really liked him. Dare I say, because we liked him so very much, we wanted to know him. We really, really wanted to. We wished we could have. We’re sad that we didn’t. I mean, he’s the kind of guy that a person would want to have around; a good guy. This man was a high quality individual and his life’s work proved it so. There was so much about him that was interesting; intriguing; noteworthy; brilliant; distinct. However, none of that changes the fact that we never met this man, and, this side of eternity, we now never will.
I cannot help but wonder how many of us have the very same fictitious relationship with another extraordinary man. A man who is also talented, remarkably rich, internationally famous, and universally well-received and admired. Yes, many of us have this false sense of familiarity with a man who has been quite famously, and infamously, popular for generation upon generation. We know all about how very decent, clean, excellent and exceptional his accomplishments are. We simply love his stellar work, and, by golly, we surely do like him a whole lot. Nevertheless, we do not know this man either. We never eat with him. Better yet, we never stop eating just so we can spend some time with him. We don’t converse with him. We don’t call him when we win, although we may often blame him when we lose. We don’t answer when he asks us to help and we fail to remind our children of his Great Name. We never spend the day hiking or picnicking or celebrating with him. If we’re honest, we do not know very much about who he really is or what he is really like at all.
His name is Jesus Christ.
We may like him. We may even really, really like him. There is so much about him that seems interesting; intriguing; noteworthy; brilliant; distinct. We have convinced ourselves that we know him quite well. After all, we can quote plenty of his original lines verbatim. We want to know him. We wish we could. We’re sad that we don’t. Still, for many of us, none of that changes the fact that we have never met this man. The only difference is, when this side of eternity hands us over, we all surely will.
Seek him now while he may be found, friends. He wants to know you, real-ly.