I’ve realized something about myself. Like many, if not all people, I enjoy a good story. I think this is built into all of us by our Creator. We were made in His image and likeness, which means we are spirit, mind, and body, and those three bear resemblances to our creator in many ways. I think one of the similarities we share with our Creator is the desire to be creative. This also produces an appreciation for the creative, I.E.; art, music, and especially story. I believe in all of our stories we are quite often telling a story within a story. A narrative within a much bigger narrative. In our stories, we often deal with the struggles of good and evil; darkness and light; love and hate; condemnation and redemption; sin and salvation. I’m persuaded that this is because we are part of the bigger story, and we’re all struggling trying to understand it, even if we don’t realize it… even if we don’t want to believe that we’re in this divine meta-narrative. The Bible says that God has put eternity within our hearts.We have an awareness that there is something more. How we go about dealing with that awareness can be quite the story.
As I said earlier, I enjoy a good story. One of the first stories that I remember having a profound impact on me emotionally was the Velveteen Rabbit. Yes, I was probably about 4 years old, and I sat at home on a lazy Saturday with my dad, sitting in his lap, watching this tale progress. As it finally came to it’s climactic ending, and the rabbit was turned from a toy in a real rabbit, I was so excited and I was rooting for that little guy to end up back with the boy who had loved him so. But, shock of all shocks, the boy let him go and be free to be a real rabbit. I was devestated! I broke down crying right on the spot, much to my dad’s surprise, and he asked me what was wrong. I don’t remember my exact words, but I remember telling him that I was so sad because the rabbit and the boy didn’t end up together in the end. I look back on that time and realize, that was one of the most shaping moments of my childhood. Not because that story is full of life-changing truth for me now, but because it opened my eyes to the poetic and bitter-sweetness of story, and how I can have my eyes opened to love people, simply because I could hear their story and be moved.
This brings me to ‘LOST’. As I write this, it’s the day after the series finale, and I have to say, I was quite moved. I don’t know that I’ve ever watched a show that has better pulled me into the lives of the characters and made me feel for them than ‘LOST’. I recall watching J.J. Abrams (one of the creators of ‘LOST’), speak at the idea conference known as ‘TED’. He summed up his basic philosophy on making good shows and movies by saying something to the effect of, “Great stories are about people! At the end of the day it’s not about how great the special effects are, it’s about the lives of the people in the story”. I was quite impressed with his speech and remember thinking, “Wow, for a guy who isn’t a Christian, this guy gets it better than most Christians!”. What I mean by that is this; Jesus summed up all of the commandments in two things: Love God and Love people. As a Christian, I have to admit that we often fail to obey these two commands. I’m a firm believer that we have these truths buried within us, but because of our flawed fallen state, they have been corrupted. We were created to worship God but instead we worship idols. We were created to love and serve each other but instead we use each other and love and serve ourselves. These are all symptoms of good things that have been corrupted by sin. But every now and then certain stories come along and awaken the truths of eternity that God has place in our hearts. We have compassion on people and desire to see them redeemed. We are forced to confront evil and admit that it is terrible, and that we are terribly enslaved by it. We are presented with our own inability to save ourselves; To change ourselves; To redeem ourselves. We are left broken by the human condition. We desperately want hope, help, comfort, forgiveness, deliverance, acceptance, identity, dignity, value, joy, and redemption, but can’t seem to find them on our own. Truly great stories often confront these issues.
I believe “LOST” is such a story. While I certainly don’t subscribe to the very ecumenical nature of the show (especially as displayed at the end of the last episode with the stained glass window depicting all of the symbols of the major religions), I still think it digs deeper at our desires and needs more than any other show I’ve seen. It admits that we are broken, flawed, lonely and Lost. It shows people seeking their redemption and restoration. It speaks to those embers of truth in our own hearts, and perhaps even forces us to ask the questions, “What must I do to be saved?”, and “Who will rescue me from myself?” “Who will redeem me?”. These are questions, however, whose answers aren’t going to be found in a TV show, a movie, or just any old story. That’s because the answer is found in the greatest and most outrageous story ever told. It’s great because it’s been going since the beginning. It’s outrageous because it’s actually true! The very God who has placed eternity within our hearts, stepped out of eternity and into time. He became like one of us, knowing all of our temptations and weaknesses, but without being overtaken by them in sin. He came to redeem us and restore us into relationship with Him once again. He did this through his perfect life, death, burial, and resurrection, where he conquered Satan, sin, and death. He now lives to make intercession for us, so that we can freely have access and relationship to God the Father, and has promised to return for us to take us to be with Him for eternity. All of this He made possible because He loved us first. How can we not be moved by this? How can we not be absolutely floored with His great love?! How can we not begin to see people as those whom God loved so much that he gave His only Son for their redemption? Suddenly, loving God and loving people doesn’t seem so far off, when we finally realize this great truth: What once was LOST has been found and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.