Saying Goodbye to Michael Jackson -
But what about his soul?

by Birgit Barandica E., July 08, 2009

The most touching moment: Michael
Jackson's daughter, little Paris,
breaks out into tears on stage, when talking about her love for her daddy
(photo: Kevork Djansezian/AP).
I admit to it - like millions of others around the world also I was sitting before the screen yesterday watching the memorial service for Michael Jackson. After all, I grew up with him and his music and in the beginning also with that of his brothers, the "Jackson Five". My childhood and youth passed me by, brought back memories and like this, I shed some tears too. I think this is not a shame, not even as a Christian, as long as we are aware of the true priorities at such a memorial service. A final goodbye is always a very sad thing. So there is no problem in submitting to mourning, even if it's about a "pop icon". Like I said it depends on the priorities.

I was very touched by those old recordings, especially those where Michael was still a little boy - I really did love him back then! I always felt it kind of "exhilarating" that we were both born in the same year! And no matter what one could say negatively about him in the past years (whereas we cannot at all be sure about what the truth is or what served only the fact that certain people could get an advantage out of his fame and even his finances) - it is always very sad when someone passes, who had somehow engraved one's own

life. Of course, it is all the more sad for family and friends who stay behind, having lost a loved one.

But at the same time, we must not forget the sad life which Michael Jackson actually lived - not even his unique career could change this. He had been robbed of his childhood and had lived only an artificial life. At the expense of a healthy upgrowing and his soul, he was systematically built up to what he later became. Those umpteen plastic surgeries he went through are just the tip of the iceberg that can tell you a thing or two about it. It isn't long ago that I saw one of his latest photos which absolutely shocked me, where he looked so ill that his face seemed to me like a skull covered with a skin... It must have been something like a presentiment when I was thinking "he won't be surviving this tour..." (I mean this 50-city-tour that was planned). Now he couldn't even begin with it...

I won't go on talking about his life - you can read more than enough on this in the media these days. And also all of this doesn't have a lot to do with our website here. Or does it perhaps???

For some 40 years, Michael Jackson determined the musical life worldwide, he initiated many innovations in the showbiz. Yet with the time, he was being put on such a high pedestal that he became unreachable; many people downright adored him, which is dangerous. The effects of that came to my mind, especially in view of this memorial service yesterday.

It shocked me to hear Andrae Crouch and his choir sing as a starter his wonderful gospel song "Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King".... Andrae Crouch, his choir and many of us know who this "King" is: Jesus, the King of Kings! It is Him who we as believing Christians are waiting for and it will be Him who we're going to see very soon! Even those who are not waiting for Him, will be seeing Him...

But a majority of those who have followed this memorial service, no matter whether personally at the Staples Center or internationally at the screens, relate the word "King" to the "King of Pop", meaning to Michael Jackson... Who ever does not know this gospel song (and we must assume that nowadays more and more people don't know anymore what these beautiful songs are about), will think that this song was sung to honor the deceased artist and that it is him who is meant with this "king". Here it is becoming very dangerous to my understanding. I cannot comprehend how Andrae Crouch as a born again Christian let himself in for this...

In part I watched this service on the internet at CNN where a live chat was integrated and there, I really did see the entry written by someone: "Michael is my Jesus"... This really shocked me! How dangerous if a person is being put at the same level as God... Apart from how destructive this can become for the person him/herself, but also for the fans it can be destructive, who are thus being led astray. The person who has written this ignorant comment, knows about Jesus, knows about His importance, otherwise he/she would not have made this comparison. But how much does he/she really know about Jesus? Does he/she know that it is Jesus alone who is our real King since He is the only one who can forgive and redeem us? No-one is like Jesus, not even a Michael Jackson...

We have heard that Michael Jackson allegedly had converted to Islam not too long ago. I can't say as to what extent this is true, but it clearly tells of his desperate search. I think nobody could tell with certainty, apart from those surrounding him personnally. I guess it wouldn't be unthinkable. Yet we also heard about several believing Christians in the showbiz, who had talked with him about faith. They prayed for him, maybe even with him. It is said that Michael had returned to Christianity recently. And then we saw a memorial service completely built upon Christian basics, where a firm stand was taken and it was prayed in the name of Jesus (something which is momentarily quite precarious in the US and in many cases, is even being prohibited juridically).

We don't know if Michael Jackson has returned to the God of the Bible with a true heart or not, ultimately turning his life over to Jesus. Only God Himself can tell. So we should not go on with speculations, no matter how "alliviating" this might sound to some who have become aware of the Christian aspect of this memorial service. To be honest, I did not expect this.

Jesus was very clear when He said, "No-one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6b). As well as clearly one can read it in Romans 10:9-10: "If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

We don't know anything referring to Michael Jackson about this and we will never know it in this life. Such memorial services, no matter who they are being celebrated for, are never about the deceased person because their soul is not here anymore from the moment of their death, but it is always about those who are left behind and have lost a loved one. And so we should pray for Michael's family. Unexpectedly and much too soon, they have lost a son, a brother, a father, an uncle. Like everybody else in such a situation, they are experiencing a deep and painful grief. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

We should be praying that they might have heard the essentials of this memorial service, which they themselves have organized the Christian way, as I assume - that they will move it in their hearts and be aware of the importance in it and that they will entrust themsleves (maybe again) consciously to Jesus.

Only then, yesterday's memorial service in Los Angeles will have fulfilled its true purpose.