Thursday, June 01, 2006

Come On Down

Ryan Seacrest, the host of “American Idol,” mentioned that over 63 million votes came in the night before the final show. He stated that more people voted that night than in any presidential election. A radio show reported the next morning that more people voted for “American Idol” that night than the entire population of Hispanics and African Americans in our entire country.

Everyone loves that show. My grandmother, my mother, and even my 2-year-old niece watch it. They know everyone's names. Very few friends of mine would ever go and see a band that plays the songs they covered on the show, but the entire nation is busting to watch it.

When I visited Los Angeles for the first time, my friend, Jen, and I decided to go and see a taping of “The Price Is Right.” They did not select either of us to be contestants, but we were in the live studio audience. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

All guests and contestants must wait together for hours before the show starts. While waiting outside the studio, they casually opened the doors of the warehouse that stored the boats, campers, cars, washing machines, and golf clubs. Everyone began to salivate. Then, they sent out a winner screaming, "I JUST WON A MOTOR HOME!" The psychological crescendo overwhelmed all of us.

When they send the intern around with the price tag nametags, it made us cry with excitement. It was better than just meeting Santa Claus; Jen and I felt as if we just received our tickets into the North Pole toy factory. We entered a dream world filled with Rod Roddy, Bob Barker, Plinko, and spinning wheels.

The energy in that small studio was astounding. When we started shouting out prices and witnessed someone that we stood beside all day make a bid for a showcase showdown, we desperately wanted to see victory. Everyone should make the pilgrimage to the Mecca of all game shows. The entire experience was so much more than I ever dreamed it could be.

Where is the wizard behind the curtain determining how our entire culture is entertained?

All sorts of theories are floating around about what makes a hit. America relates to the “average Joe” winning it big or striking it rich. Everyone feels a personal connection with Taylor Hicks. We all have seen the vitamins from “The Price Is Right” in our own grocery stores. Yet, so many people secretly wait to hear their name called to “come on down!” or be declared the “Next American Idol.” Does it take a Bob Barker or Simon Cowles to determine our significance?

Press pause. Hold still for a moment. Freeze.

In the middle of the chaos of the showdown and final episodes, God whispers to us. “Be still and know that I am God.”

Phyllis Tickle says that “reverence becomes in time a being, a state of whole and quiet knowing, and an enjoying of the bounds of creatureness.” God holds up my life, and He is not judging me or randomly picking names off a winner’s list. His grace does not come to me by chance; He poured it out in love. Why do we seek the whimsy of luck to determine good fortune? Grace is all around us. Friends, please stop looking around the corner for your big day. Your day has come.

I often wonder about Moses. God lit a bush on fire to catch his attention. Do we have burning bushes around us? Stop, look around, and see if God is speaking to you now.


Blogger jledmiston said...

Great post. You ask the right questions, even if you didn't get to declare the right price. Oh well.

5:28 AM  

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