Remembering the Common People

What do Jim Nabors, David Cassidy, Monty Hall, Jerry Lewis, Glen Campbell, Gregg Allman, Mary Tyler Moore, Don Rickles, Hugh Hefner, Adam West and Roger Moore all have in common?

They are all celebrities, and they all died in 2017.

What do Hannah Ahlers, Jack Beaton, Austin Davis, Stacee Etcheber, Jennifer Irvine, Carrie Barnette, Candice Bowers, Michelle Vo, Derrick Taylor, Eric Silva, and Neysa Tonks all have in common?

They all attended the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas the night of October 1, 2017. They all died as a result of the mass shooting.

Many more celebrities died in 2017. Even more ordinary people died in the Las Vegas massacre.

Celebrities die, and national, even international, media takes note of the them. Their career is recounted. The awards they received, or were even nominated for, are listed. Their contribution to the arts and society is noted. People from all over recognize their names and maybe stop and reflect on them for a moment.

The victims of the Las Vegas massacre are usually named only as a group. When they are individually listed, their lives are remembered with phrases like, “she loved her friends and family,” “he would give you the shirt off his own back,” “she was a great mom,” “he was a hard worker” – common phrases that could describe hundreds of people. By name few people beyond friends and family recognize them. Only in connection to the massacre is their any common notice.

The truth is, the world hardly takes note of them. It is neither who they are nor the life they lived that is recalled. It is how they died that is of note.

There really is a double standard, one for the elites and celebrities, and a different one for common people. Maybe there is no way around it. An actress who, in the course of a career, stars in dozens of movies, many of great renown, simple is known by large numbers of people. A wonderful mother and grandmother who took care of her family and helped at the church bazaar and volunteer at the PTA, leaves a small wake in the ocean of life, one that quickly dissipates. But what about in the ocean of eternity?

I have to believe that in God’s view of things it is perhaps the common goodness of common, faithful people that gets noted. The heavenly People Magazine is not for the celebrities of this life, but for the faithful, who in small, seemingly insignificant ways demonstrate on a regular basis such spiritual principles as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Their stage may be small, but their acts are not. They are huge; they are life giving; life enhancing.

In the 14th chapter, 11th verse of The Revelation we read, And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”

Blessed are the good deeds of common people, for their deeds live on in all eternity.

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