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“Dennis, Elvis, and Jesus” (thanks, Ray) 

When Elvis Presley died, people all over the United States and the world were shocked at the passing of one they called “the King.” Following his death, there surfaced a great number of young men who gave evidence of how they had idolized Elvis Presley and sought to imitate him. One young man, Dennis Wise, actually had his face surgically lifted and his hair contoured to look exactly like his idol. Dennis had learned to play the guitar and had even made a few dollars by appearing as a Presley look-alike. In a newspaper interviewed about his passion to be like Elvis Presley, this is what Dennis said:

  • “Yes, sir, Presley has been an idol of mine ever since I was five years old. I have every record he ever made — twice over. I have pictures in the thousands. I have books, magazines, pillows — I even have a couple of books in German and Japanese about him. I even have tree leaves from the front of his house. It was embarrassing to me when I was in school for the kids were always teasing me. When Elvis was wearing white boots I went out and bought white boots. The kids called them “fruit boots.” Teachers would always send me to the office because my two top buttons were unbuttoned. I’d button them and then, when no one was looking, I’d unbutton them again.
  • “But I never got to meet Elvis Presley. I saw him on the stage four times. Once I tried to run up to the stage and once I stood on the wall of Graceland [the Presley mansion] and tried to see him. For 12 hours I stood there trying to get a glimpse of him. But he had so many people around him that I could never get close.”

Dennis’ words describe sheer idolatry, the longing to be intimate with some great person. This is widely contemporary today. Young people are doing the same thing with their rock starts, and with other figures in the music, the movie, and the sports world. But the tragic element in the story of Dennis Wise is captured by his words, “I could never get close to him.”

Imagine how difficult it would be to see Jesus if he were on earth today. Think of the press of people you would have to get through to even look at him, let alone talk with him. Millions would be clamoring for his attention so that you wouldn’t stand a chance to get close to him. But the good news of Easter is, not only can you know him, but he can be close to you all the time, through every situation.

The risen Lord offers to share his victory with you, to take you through whatever you must face as your close and competent Companion who will never, never leave you.

 

( An edited excerpt from “The Incredible Hope” by Ray Stedman [http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/john/the-incredible-hope] )