Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
It seems like all the power, all the authority, all the wealth and comfort were not enough for poor Levi. I find it striking how quickly Levi got up from his custom’s post and ran out the door to follow the Lord. I find it bizarre to say the least how Levi smiled and leaped for joy when he was invited to live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. Don’t you?
Have you recently had a discussion with someone that went something like this: What’s going on? I’m not happy with my life. Something is missing. What’s missing? Ah, I don’t know… something.
I find it absolutely amazing that I can have these thoughts but cannot express them in any language. I know there is more to this life than what I am living, but while I am looking for it, I can’t seem to say it! I can’t name it because I don’t know it. I can’t describe it because I haven’t experienced it. And yet, deep down I know that there must be more. Or is it less?
In 1957, Dolores Hart caused girls across the world to turn green with envy when she made her film debut kissing Elvis Presley. This striking blonde went on to share the silver screen with everyone from Stephen Boyd and Montgomery Clift (who starred as a priest in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, “I Confess”), to George Hamilton and Robert Wagner, but found herself falling for an even more famous figure: Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow evening, Dolores Hart, today known as Sister Dolores, will be walking the red carpet to attend the 84th Academy Awards ceremony. All eyes are upon this old nun who, having entered a cloistered monastery at the age of 24, is the subject of an Oscar-nominated HBO documentary ‘God is Bigger than Elvis’.
Her story is not as unique as the paparazzi would like to make it, but it is surprising! Of course, nothing is surprising or even shocking in Tinseltown; not even the plague of drug or alcohol related deaths and suicides that strike hard at famous actors and actresses. But what still remains a surprise to many, especially in Tinseltown, is how someone could have it all, and would rather jump on the occasion to have it so much less, and live happily ever after, even to a ripe old age of 71 (another surprise for Hollywood) and enjoying every minute of it!
Although this kind of story dates back two thousand years ago, it continues to be a unique and mysterious story even for the best of Hollywood directors! I wish they would try writing it a few times a year! Unfortunately, they always seem to mess it all up!
You see, God is not bigger than Elvis. Actually, God made himself smaller than Elvis by living the life of a slave. In all honesty, Elvis is bigger than God and God wouldn't want it any other way. Yes, God is bigger than life, that’s true! But the reason why God is bigger than life is because he gave his life. That’s the shocking truth!
Sister Dolores is not greater than Elvis, and she wouldn't want it any other way. In fact, she became smaller for Elvis by praying for Elvis. That too, is the shocking truth!
Why can't Hollywood get our story right! It’s old enough and they should know it by now!
Isaiah, the greatest Old Testament prophet, called upon his own not to start something new but to renew, rebuild, repair and restore all that was old!
“The Lord will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden…The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake…‘Repairer of the breach’, they shall call you, ‘Restorer of ruined homesteads.’” (Isaiah 58:11-14)
This Lent, let us renew our relationship with God; rebuild our prayer life; repair the damage our sins have done and restore our life of grace. The old give witness to what is tried and true. All that has endured the test of time gives witness to what works best. By now we should know that simple and smaller are always better.
Maybe our resurrection will begin this way too.