Gene Wilder, a childhood favorite of mine, died recently. Social media was inundated with condolences and various memories shared by fans of Mr. Wilder. I also couldn’t help but notice that there were a great many articles and posts which said things like, “Now, you can go be with Gilda.” Gilda Radner, a brilliant comedienne in her own right, had been married to Gene “back in the day.” For fans, theirs was the romance so many only dream of. The trouble with all those wonderful posthumous sentiments was that Gene had been married a few times after Gilda and had been with his current wife for 25 years. I had some thoughts and wanted to share them with you.
Our culture is one in which celebrities are “worshipped.” We want to know what kind of clothes they wear, the cars they drive, the food they eat, who they love, etc… We want to feel as if we really know them, that we share some sort of connection with them. We think to ourselves, “If I could only meet _, I know we’d be friends.” But these fantastical meetings rarely if ever take place, and as familiar as we may think we are with them ,we don’t really know them. And yet, we seem drawn to our Idols by some mystical compulsion that resides somewhere deep in our “psyche.”
I believe that celebrity worship is a direct result of the “sin mutation” that affects us all, taking something that God placed inside of us, then twisting it. You see, we have an innate longing to be known and to know someOne larger than life. That’s because we are created to enjoy intimacy with God, the ultimate celebrity if you will. We are meant for something fantastic and “mythical.” We are more than doctors, lawyers, housewives, plumbers, students, etc… We are the direct result of the loving, kind intentions of an all powerful, holy God. A God, perfect and in need of nothing, decided that he would not be God without us. And despite the warping , perversion, and death that sin has wrought in all of us, we” instinctively” know that we are created for something “more.”
In Gene Wilder’s movie Young Frankenstein, young Dr. Fronk-en-steen continues his legendary grandfather’s work, reanimating a dead body. And the comedy that ensues as Wilder’s character (along with an awesome supporting cast) tries to keep his experiment from going public is classic. But what you and I have been invited to share in by our creator is mind-blowing! Not only has a loving God brought his creation back to life through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we have been adopted into his family and made participants in the holy Triune love that has eternally belonged to Father, Son, and Spirit. And furthermore, he has made us partakes of his own divine nature and promises that when we see him we shall be LIKE HIM!!
We’re all intrigued by the bigger than life “stars” who shine so brightly in our culture, and I believe we are drawn to celebrity and fame because we are created by God to experience intimacy with the ultimate Superstar- the “bright morning star.” It is Christ alone who can satisfy the desire of the human heart that yearns to know someone greater than ourselves, to be a part of something extraordinary.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Talk about “Puttin’ on the Ritz”!!)