Pastoral Reflections on LOST
Spoiler Alert: Do not read until you watch the series finale of LOST.
My son’s first words after the Lost finale “event” last night were, “I don’t really get it…” I told him I’d explain it to him in the morning. Truth was I needed time to “process” what I had experienced too! And so off we were to bed to think about and contemplate the final installment of the last six years of one of THE best series to ever air on television. Yes, Lost was not just good, it was great…fiction. That’s right, let’s all take a deep breath and remember that what we have been watching, what has captivated us, was a fine work of fictional story telling.
For those looking (and yes, there were many people looking) for some revelation of deep truth or some secret new knowledge about life, then you are sadly disappointed today. In the arena of Truth, Lost falls short. But then again, I am not sure it was ever aiming for Truth. I think it reveled in the unanswered question and in the end, there are still many unanswered questions. And I think that’s okay. I think had they tried to answer all the questions that we would have been disappointed.
For those seeking metaphysical truth, what we got was a story about a quasi-purgatory (not a flash sideways after all) where each member of the Lost Clan ended up after they died. Not until they “found” each other were there eyes opened and their memories restored of their lives together on the very real Lost island. Once reunited in the after-life, they were then ready to “move” to the next phase of the after-life. Still not sure what that big light was at the end…heaven? Once again, questions. New questions to go along with other lingering questions. Where did the island come from? Exactly what is it? Is the “light” good? Is the red glowing that replaced the light hell? Why are memories erased in “purgatory”? What other adventures did Hurley and Ben face as the new keepers of the island? What happened to the group that finally escaped the island on the plane?
Questions, questions, questions. And lots of fun. But only if you do not take it as anything other than fiction. Remember that Lost did not come from the mind of God. It came from the mind of men. To be precise the minds of J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cuse, and Damon Lindelof. I don’t even know if these guys are Christians but I suspect not. They did get one thing glaringly correct. As Jack’s father gently says to him, “Everyone dies sometime, kiddo.” Yes, everyone does die sometime. But there is no purgatory and not everyone goes to heaven. In the end, we are all truly Lost. And some of us are saved. It’s offered to all because of Jesus. But many walk away from him and instead look for Truth from those whose job it is to give us good fiction. And they did their job well. But let us pray we can tell the difference.