I was raised on Elvis music. In fact, I have elsewhere confessed that I was a teenage Elvis impersonator. And there was a time when, though he wasn’t “always on my mind,” Elvis’ music was a significant part of the soundtrack of my life. I was reminded of those days yesterday as Christine and I stopped by Graceland on our way out of Memphis. We wanted our kids (who are aware of my love of Elvis music and complain when I sing it) to see a piece of pop culture history.
But I also wanted the kids to witness worship. I wanted them to see what worship looks like, even if it is wayward worship. Graceland has its own version of the “western wall” where worshipers leave notes of praise and adoration for their king. I was amazed at the number of expressions of worship that had messianic overtones. We captured a few for you:
“Elvis Presley, thank you for so many memories in my life. You kept me going! Your music, movies, handsomest-man-alive, generosity, the way you move. The best voice in the world. I will always love you!”
“Love him tender, love him true, never let him go. For my king, I love you, and I always will!”
My aim here is not to ridicule or mock these folks, but to make an observation: we were wired for worship. We are prone to passionately praise excellence and creativity. Elvis may not be your idol of choice. Perhaps, like many who live in my town, you love to raise your voice and hands in praise at the local football temple stadium. I took my kids to one of those games last year, and the expressions of worship were overwhelming. I want my kids to see what expressions of worship look like, so that we can talk about how everyone worships. Learning to worship is not the problem, learning to worship the right God is.
So, we’ll talk about these experiences in the days ahead. We’ll look in the Psalms to see if we can identify the expressions of worship that we saw at Graceland and the football stadium. We’ll discuss the One on whom the psalmists focus their vocal and physical praise and compare Him to our objects of worship.
The sobering question for me is: When I sing “O worship the King,” which king do my children think I’m praising?