Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jesus and Justin Bieber

My daughters and I were out yesterday when my seven-year-old became aware of the song playing in the background.

"This is Justin Bieber," she announced.  And then she paused and asked, "Who is he?"

I explained that he is a singer and made a movie, the trailer of which we had seen a month or so ago when we went to "Tangled" during Christmas break.  Since we don't listen to much popular music, I was surprised that she recognized and remembered the song and singer.  But we don't live under a rock, and  I figured that between the Disney channel and sports and clubs, she'd heard of him and his music, to which she agreed when I asked. 

Then she added, "Someone in AWANA [Bible club] has a T-shirt she wears all the time with him on it, and she sings this and says she loves him."  Then she looked at me like that was a very strange thing to do, to love a singer.  But I also know that she's a curious kid and also a sensitive one, always wanting to make sure that she is doing the right thing.

So I said, "I'd rather you know about Jesus than Justin Bieber.  And I think you do know Jesus."  And she smiled broadly and nodded, as if she knew a special secret, and then she changed the subject to other things, leaving me to cherish her honesty and simple faith.  

I give all credit to God for giving me those words, and for leading her to Him.  But I worry about a world where more people know who Justin Bieber is than who Jesus is, where people proclaim love for someone on TV or on screen versus someone who can live in our hearts forever.  And that's not Jesus' fault -- it's mine, and yours, and everyone who knows about Him and who is called to proclaim his name. 

Yet it is easy to glamorize the things we see and hear so much, rather than that which is often unseen (or segregated to one hour a week on a Sunday morning).  It's easier to pick up People magazine at the doctor's office than to spend time in prayer or reflection.

 But God tells us in 2 Corinthians not to lose heart (chapter 4, verse 16).  And two verses later He continues to remind us of what is important:

 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 

This is a wake-up call for me, to focus on the "unseen," on the faith in our Lord, than just what is in the world around us.   What can we do to make sure that the words of Christ are more well known that the ubiquitous notes of some pop song?