Lost and Found

A few days ago, I posted some of the reasons I see Jack from “Lost” as a Jesus character.  Even though the finale was a few weeks ago, now, I continue to contemplate it and thought I’d post a few more thoughts, questions, and observations.

First: the very ending.

Here’s my take: The island marked or changed the main characters.  There destinies were entwined by their time on the island.  When they died, they became like ghosts in some stereotypical ghost story, not able to let go and move on.

Those who died went on to occupy the world that would eventually become the flash sideways world.  Everyone not originally on the island was just a figment of the imaginations of the people who occupied the flash sideways world.  It wasn’t so much an alternate universe as a shared dream between a handful of people.

The flash sideways world existed outside of the  time we experience in the real world.    Some of those who lived there died way after Jack.  Some died way before Jack.   But they all– or perhaps the island itself– recognized that Jack had to not only choose to be leader, but also prove his leadership by dying for them all.   So in terms of time as experienced for the waiting dead in the flash sideways world, the big moment was Jack actually choosing to do what he did.

When all the characters realized their other life, in the original “Lost” world, it was really nothing other than remembering.  All the goings on were simply in their respective pasts, because by definition, they had to be dead in order to get the flash-sideways “world” at all.

And when Jack proved himself the leader they all new he was supposed to be, they were ready, to move on to whatever is next.

There are of course, questions that I’m left with:

#1) What’s up with Christian’s transformation?  Does death just make you not act like a jerk anymore?  Or was the Christian that Jack met in the church just part of the shared illusion, like the entire “flash sideways” world?

#2) Who was the women who killed the mom of Jacob and the man in black?

#3) What is the relevance of the biblical story of Jacob and Essau, which focuses on adoption, stolen birth rights, and many other similiar themes?

#4) What is the nature of the Island itself?

#5) If the smoke monster is dead, why is Hurley necessary as the protector?

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I once was lost…

I’m getting back into Lost, I think.

The show has always had this subtext, both theological and philosophical.

But as I watched the season premiere, I was really struck by what’s going on:

There’s this guy, who seems surrounded by miracles, including ones where the lame can suddenly walk.  He’s taken this journey into leadership and has emphasized the importance of faith.  This journey has brought him into conflict with military powers (the others) and representatives of the world’s powers (represented by Jack). 

This figure wants everyone to keep doing what they have been doing.  But he is ultimately abondoned by his sometimes followers.  They are scattered back into the world.  The only way for him to make this right and return everyone to the course they were meant to be on is to die.

And it seems like his death will bring about a reuinion.  There are these hints of a reseruction.  The person who is doing the most to spread the word is the man who used to persecute them all.  Hmmm… Sound familiar, anyone?

There are clearly places where the paralell falls down.  Most notably in that it seems like the John Locke character has … at best… mixed motives.  And the show was built on twisting and turning so that once you finally think you get it, it turns out there is some new wrinkle.

Just for the record, on a completely not-allegorical front, my predictions for this season:

#1) John’s resseruction will have something to do with the whole time travel thing.  Once they get everybody together, they’ll somehow go backwards and change time so that he’s not dead.  (Yes, I know that they aren’t supposed to be able to change time.  But they demonstrated that they could change time in some limited cases on the premiere.)

#2) The blonde girl– Julia?  Juliette?  (What’s her name?) She’s getting erased from time.  That’s why she’s forgetting stuff and feeling all wierd.  It’s sort-of like the Michael J. Fox character at the end of the first “Back to the Future” somebody has done something in the past that prevents her from getting born.

My Garden

I’m sweating out blood here in my garden

Knowing that the first of your blood shed was there in your garden

I’m wishing that I wasn’t right here in this garden

hating that I’m knowing that it’s right where I am

supposed to be.

It hurts so much to find them all sleeping.

But you, too, found them all sleeping.

And I know that sometimes it’s me, I’m the one sleeping.

when you were the one

who counted on me.

So I’m seeing that cup and I gotta say that I’m wishing

Remembering those days that it was only for fish that I was fishing.

 Just because You don’t take it doesn’t mean you’re not listening

When I say God,

take this cup from me.

If this is what it takes, then God I guess I’ll do it.

I know you wouldn’t have me here if you weren’t going to see me through it.

Those first steps done, only the hard ones left

the beginning of the end’s over now and I remember what you said

And comforts hard to find, the one who said he loved me

he’s bringing them to hurt me he’s bring them, they’re coming

once I gave that kiss I’ll take that kiss now

if you won’t take this all away from me.

Those things that happen next

Take from me everything that’s left

Empty out what the world filled me up with

Made some space inside of me to be filled with what You Did.

Half the pain is what they do

The other half is that they did and do it to You

I wish that I couldn’t see

as they do it all to me.

Here I am, all alone

Here I am, before your throne

I followed the bloody path that you blazed

I followed it through those days

It is finished,

it is finished,

it is finally finished.

There is You

and there is me

and it is finished. 

A reality check on Christmas Eve

“Are you closing?” This middle-aged woman was asking me.  She had frizzy hair.

I looked back over my shoulder.  The lights were shut off.  The sign was shut off.  It was six PM on Christmas Eve.  It was one of those questions that you don’t want to answer because it seems to obvious for words.

“I thought maybe you’d be opened on Christmas Eve.” She said all in one breath, in the panicked way people talk whose whole worlds are on the edge of collapse.   “It’s Christmas Eve and I have no where to go.” And then she let out this sound; a moan, a sob, a laugh.  Something somewhere in between.

If this was a fiction story I would have had all the right things to say.  I stood there and looked behind her.  She stood in front of one of those newer SUV’s that kind-of looks like a minivan on steroids… It was a soccer mom car.  She looked like a soccer mom.  How did she come to be alone on Christmas Eve?

If this was a Hallmark special, if this was a story in a sermon, if this was the kind of tale that people forewarded in emails, it would have a resolution… most likely a happy ending.

But in reality I stood there paralyzed.  I tried to smile at her.  I tried to suggest the movie theater on the other side of the shopping center. 

She took a few minutes, presumably to gather herself together.  I prayed for as I watched her pull away.  I am sure that Jesus was proud of me for spending three minutes of my precious time thinking about her.  (Note sarcasm.)

I don’t know where she went, or who she was, or what her story was.  Probably I never will.

In some way I’m offering up this as blog as a confession.  I posted about how Jesus wants us to reach out.  And then I didn’t.

The event was a wake-up call.  I’d been feeling quite sorry for myself.  I have a second job and was away from my family on much of Christmas Eve.  I was annoyed with people who wandered in, 10 minutes before we closed and who mulled around the racks after closing as the 20-odd staff were wanting to get out and go home.  Truthfully, I was even resentful at the fact that we’re a one car family and that I had to be picked up like a high school kid. 

And then…. Wham!  I’m confronted with somebody who is not only alone but who is also terrified with the realization that because Barnes & Noble is closed, they have nothing to do.

I tell myself it would have been easier if she hadn’t been a woman or if I hadn’t been a man.  There are very few acts of kindness between strangers of the opposite sex that don’t look inappropriate.

And so I’ve been thinking about that, today.  Things that look inappropriate.

I’ve been counseled– probably wisely– to be careful about things that look bad.  The idea is partially that we should be on our guard from bad stuff that could happen, but also that we should be on the guard for things that are in truth innocent but look inappropriate.

I get that, I think.  But I also wonder if it’s biblical.

If a prostitute today rubbed a pastor’s feet, if a woman gave a minister a scalp masage, it would look bad.  End of story.

But Jesus allowed these things.  And he lived in a less touchy-feely, much more sexually segregated society.

And so I guess it’s a fair question, to ask “How does it look when a man and a women are in public and…”

But there’s a follow up question, a bigger one, I think.

That follow up question is this:

How does it look when a man who claims to follow Christ does nothing more than point the lonely to a movie theater?