Today’s newspaper announced the passing of Annette Funicello, who was best known for her role as one of the original Disney Mouseketeers. Certainly we offer our condolences to her family.

After her time as a Mousketeer, Funicello went on to make numerous beach movies with Franki Avalon. Funicello’s brand in the film and television industry was simply “forever young.”

Disney has been able to reproduce the youth formula over the years with new stars such as Brittney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera, and Lindsay Lohan. In a way, Disney’s “fountain of youth” programming tends to ignore the obvious: everyone gets old and eventually dies.

I wonder how the news of Funicello’s death strikes Justin Timberlake today? How will Christiana Aguilera take the news? Will it serve as a cold reminder of reality? Will it occur to them that the Magic Kingdom does not have power over death?

Hebrews 9:27 explains, “it is appointed for man to die once…” and Psalm 89:48 asks, “What man can live and never see death?” Death is reality in this world –even in the Magic Kingdom.

But there is another Kingdom in which “death is no more” (Revelation 21:4) because the King has defeated death (1 Cor. 15:54-56). There is a Kingdom where we live forever –but its not in California!

I don’t know about the spiritual lives of former Mickey Mouse Club members –but I do know that they are just like you and me: in need of a King who has conquered death and offers eternal life. Then, when the moment comes for us to leave this life, we have the hope that comes from Christ’s words in John 11:25: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…”

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