Monday, May 24, 2010

The LOST finale

Last night I was given special permission to leave the Elder's meeting early so that I could get to a "very important youth meeting." That meeting was watching the LOST series finale with two of my church youth. One of these "losties" has been away at college for his freshman year and I forgot just how much I missed talking with him about what in the world was happening on the island.

Due to the magic of the DVR, we watched the show without commercial interruption (except when we happened upon the hilarious Target commercial for smoke detectors featuring the Smoke Monster). As we went along we delighted in guessing what would come next, and in seeing old friends reunited. The finale left us scratching our heads- what exactly happened? What "true meaning" are we to draw from the final scenes?

In my opinion, any good story is told that way. The answers are not there in black and white- you must think for yourself, talk it over with friends and make sense of it together. That's what Jesus did with the parables. Can't you just imagine that after he told one of those doosies of a parable people were left sitting in stunned silence like we were on the couch last night saying, "I still don't get it?" And then they talked about it, they debated, they brought their own life experience and what they knew about God to their intepretation. That's what the three of us did in my living room last night.

I'm not sure if I speak for Jesse and Josh- but here are some things I got from the finale that I am better able to articulate after a good night's sleep.

1. The Losties all died in the original crash of Oceanic flight 815

2. Before they could move on to what I will claim boldly as heaven (because I'm a Christian that's how I make sense of the afterlife) there were some things they had to work out. This story was mostly about Jack I believe- we were really seeing what he needed to work out in particular.

3. While Jack was willing to "lay down his life for his friends" quite literally to save the island, I really appreciated that in the end it was Hurley who was the island's protector (as one of my facebook friends predicted a few weeks ago). Hurley was the only character that I never had to ask myself this question about: "is he good or is he bad?"

4. I appreciated that LOST made me ask, "is he good or is he bad" about each character- because the truth is we are all more complicated than a "good" or "bad" label. However, I think Hurley was the most child-like character on the show and therefore closer to the kingdom of God.

5. I love that Jack finally made the transition to "man of faith" by the end of the show. I think he had a really great balance in the end between "man of reason" and "man of faith". The debates between he and Locke about faith and reason were deeply relevant to the balance I strive for in my own life.

6. Ok, but really- is Ben Linus good or bad?

7. The "lesson" I took from the show overall is that we can't do it alone. Jack could NOT have been redeemed and able to move on if it had not been for all the other people on the island. They waited for him, they went into heaven together. Being a beloved child of God is something I believe we are meant to do in community and not be ourselves. We are meant to struggle everyday to figure out what is "good" and "bad" in ourselves and to strive for the good with a community of people trying to do the same. At its best, that is church. The beloved community of God is something we strive for and achieve together and I think I caught a little glimpse of it in my living room last night over a LOST finale and a slice of pizza. Thank you God.

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