Some of you may know that I’m a big Elvis fan. From his early covers to his late in life Disco and everything in between. I was raised in a house that belted out Elvis tunes when I was young and back then, I really didn’t care for it. I just wanted to listen to my Adam and the Ants and Roxy Music albums. Elvis was dead and I was alive. Only in my adulthood did I join Elvis fandom.. the brassy, drum ridden noise of my youth became an orchestral wave of sweet musical harmony.. and I love it. His music lived on even though Elvis was very much dead.
So imagine my surprise when, after 20 years of reading about, enjoying and engaging in the life and times of the King of Rock and Roll, I turn on my BBC on demand app and see, ‘Orion: The man who would be King. – Is this man really Elvis Presley?’ over a picture of a man in a flashy white jumpsuit very much in the style of Elvis, only this man is wearing a mask in the same style.
As it turns out, a few years after Elvis started to hit the big time there was another man, Jimmy Ellis, who loved to sing and sounds JUST like Elvis. He didn’t sing ‘like’ Elvis, he wasn’t trying to sound ‘like’ Elvis.. when he sang he sounded ‘as’ Elvis did.. and because of this, no one wanted him. His career trickled on until Elvis died and then via a major marketing scoop Jimmy became ‘Orion’, a masked man singing with Elvis’ voice to packed halls of screaming fans who desperately wanted Orion to be Elvis in a mask.
He wasn’t Elvis.
He sounded like him. He was taller, a different shape, a different face and different coloured eyes.. anyone who looked objectively knew that Jimmy wasn’t ‘The King’ but their need was so strong, their hearts so full.. they chose to see what they wanted to be true and not what was true.
I have attended many, many churches who declare themselves ‘Israel’. In and out of church, among the nations I’ve seen many groups who declare themselves ‘Israel’. Sometimes they are ‘spiritual Israel’ and sometimes they believe they are physically flesh and blood tribes people..Joseph, Ephraim, Jacob, common labels for many thousands of different people in many hundreds of different groups whose need is so strong, their hearts so full.. they choose to see what they want to be true, that they are ‘Israel’ and not what IS true, that ‘Israel’ remains the blood linage of Jacob’s offspring.
‘He wears the mask the cover the plastic surgery scars!’ – one woman’s reasoning for Jimmy’s very ‘unElvis’ looks.
I spent some time researching Jimmy Ellis, he lived an interesting life and died a tragic death. I enjoy his music very much and I’m grateful for my chance stumbling onto his story.
Anyone who looks at the bible can see that Israel is the name given to Jacob and His children. The tribes that started with each of the 12 sons are carried on via the birthing of Children and not through wishful thinking..no amount of faith will change the flesh and blood qualification into a ‘my heart tells me it’s the truth’ fulfillment. When you remove the mask you see there is no scarring.
So, enjoy Elvis.. and enjoy Jimmy. It’s ok to be different.