“These things bring you to reality as to how fragile you are; at the same moment that you are doing something nobody else is able to do. The same moment as you are seen as the best, the fastest, and somebody that cannot be touched, you are enormously fragile.” – Ayrton Senna – Brazilian Racer
What eventful week! Brian Houston, the founding pastor of Hillsong Church in Australia, stepped down due to moral failures and being criminally charged with the cover-up of child sexual abuse by his father. Some pastors connected to Hillsong resigned, and an expose documentary is being released on the Discovery Channel, revealing cultish practices and greed. Hillsong Church has touched the lives of billions through its teaching and worship ministry. How will the life of this leader and the contributions of this church be remembered? I can’t judge that and you can’t either. What friends/leaders did Houston have to offer him accountability? TD Jakes said, “When YOUR sin goes public, people act like THEY have none.” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:7, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” This Church celebrity culture can be dangerous.
On Sunday night, millions watched as usually clean rapper, TV actor, movie star, and mogul Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock in the face after Rock made an inappropriate joke about Smith’s wife’s bald head. Jada Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia, so the joke was deemed in bad taste by many—but not so bad as the angry, curse-laden response by her husband. Will Smith subsequently won an academy award 30 minutes later for his portrayal of Venus and Serena’s father, Richard Williams. He gave a tear-filled speech and offered an apology for his behavior. We have been watching Smith on screens big and small for 35 years. He, his wife, and family have been under scrutiny over everything from their marital lifestyle, to their spiritualism, to the rearing of their children. He’s used to the pressures of fame and success, yet he lost it in that moment. The repercussions of his decision may reverberate for a long time. Academy award winning actor Denzel Washington told Smith, “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
We are all FRAGILE – easily broken or damaged; not strong or sturdy; vulnerable—and so are the moments of our lives. This is true for Christians and non-Christians alike. One minute you are on top of the world, the next, you’re experiencing worldwide judgment. Imagine your life’s work being narrowed down to your worst moment. Jesus experienced a cultural context of fickle, imperfect people. One day the crowds who followed Him shouted Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Within a week these same folks were yelling Crucify Him!! These are sobering times and life is fragile…that’s why we all need grace.