I’m guessing that each person reading this knows who Elvis was. Unless you’re young and from a place like Uganda or Uzbekistan (which is certainly possible). Elvis changed music in the 1950’s and forever. He would be 79 today if he were still alive. He died in 1977 at the age of 42. His shaking was the societal equivalent of Miley Cyrus’ twerking today. And for those of you who don’t know who Miley Cyrus is, I don’t have time to explain. Getting back to Elvis –
In his peak, Elvis was so popular that people would tear buildings apart where Elvis was performing. I remember when I was a kid that a neighbor of mine had a small piece of carpet that she cut out of Elvis’ limo! Serious. Apparently, it was so bad that when the concert was over and Elvis was not coming back out that the venue would often announce, “Elvis has left the building”. By telling the crazed crowd that Elvis had left the building, they were telling them it was really over, Elvis would not be back for an encore, and they should give up and go home. Mike Lange, longtime announcer for the Pittsburgh Penguins still ends Penguins wins with, “Elvis has just left the building”.
One of these days, we will each have our proverbial, “Elvis has left the building” moment. One day each of our earthly lives will end and every person will see who was right or wrong about what comes next. Some people think when this life is over, it’s all over and it all ends with a slow ride in a hearse and there is nothing else. Some people believe they come back to this world as something or someone else. Some people believe there are a bunch of virgins waiting for them. Some people believe ‘good people’ go to a good place and ‘bad people’ go to a bad place. One day, we’ll each find out what follows this life.
I believe we and this world were created. I cannot fathom that this world and all the universes just happened to be here. I believe each of us will face our creator, whom we call God, and answer for our lives. And I don’t know how it will work. I believe that for all of those who have claimed the Name of Jesus and lived for Him will spend eternity with Him. Yet, I constantly wrestle with this tension between grace and accountability. I don’t know and certainly don’t decide who goes where when they ‘leave the building’. I don’t know if a loving and devout Muslim will go to heaven. I’d personally feel better if they would repent of their sin and come to Jesus now. I preach as Jesus taught: that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and nobody comes to the Father but through Jesus.
All we can do and all we are asked to do is to live this life for Jesus, by faith, with the power of His Holy Spirit. And as I read in my Bonhoeffer devotion this morning, “We will not be judged in terms of our success, but only in terms of our commitment”.