Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Few Thoughts on the Conclusion of Lost

Many have been discussing the conclusion to Lost over the past few days, so I will toss in some of my impressions. What one saw in the ending, what one took away from it, of course will be highly flavored by what one brought to it. For myself, I am a Christian Univeralist... so my interpretations will run in that vein. I am curious to hear what you saw.

I thouroughly enjoyed the conclusion. As I said on a friend's Facebook status - I am a sucker for a story of redemption and reconcillation.

I had been harboring a general annoyance with Lost over the last year or two. I joked that the writers were just partaking in a great "stream of conciousness" writing experiment. Those who thought the story lines actually had a direction were deluded. I was growing tired of the endless cliffhangers.

Still, I stayed with it because... regardless of all else, these were great stories about the human condition.

In the end, I think I was kind of right. A lot of the questions I had throughout the series about how and why remained unanswered. But that worked for the context of the ending. It turns out that the point of the Island wasn't the Island. It was just the backdrop through which they could work out all of the things in their minds and hearts that needed to be worked out. I think that is how it will be at the end of our time. All of this is just the backdrop and playing field as we work out the struggles in our souls. Paul hinted at this when he said, "Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Or, as Lewis stated in The Great Divorce:

But what, you ask, of earth? Earth, I think, will not be found by anyone to be, in the end, a very distinct place.

I think the most powerful moments involved Ben in the final scenes. First, when he asks forgiveness of Locke. I choked up. His request of forgiveness and his personal brokeness as he confessed the corruption in his heart that had drove him to murder... was beautiful. It is moments like that which draw me to Christian Universalism. It wasn't until Ben was beyond it that he could truly see it. We see this thought expressed in scripture frequently. Paul states that it is after death that "we shall know fully, even as we are fully known". Jesus asks his Father to forgive humanity because "they don't know what they are doing". Paul persecuted Christ, until the scales fell from his eyes.  Ben truly saw... and when he did, he saw that he needed forgiveness.

I loved how, when each charcter was brought into that timeless knowledge, there was peace. As Julian of Norwich said, "... all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

The second thing I loved is that Ben chose to stay outside. He knew he was not yet ready. There were still areas of his heart that had not been dealt with. This reminded me of the ghosts in CS Lewis' The Great Divorce who had not quite become solid yet. There was still work to be done. I love that message because it is one that I am learning. Growing up Evangelical, I was taught "imputed righteousness" - when God looked at me, he no longer saw me but Jesus - so all is well. However, I always knew intuitively that approach was not dealing with the real trouble going on in my heart. I have rather learned to look at the disciplines of God (both present and future) as a purifier, not a punishment. Ben was not looking to have someone "cover over" his sins... he wanted them dealt with. He wanted to be a new man. He wanted to be born again.

Like all good art, we all saw something different.... and will probably see something new when viewing it again.

Thank you to everyone who made Lost happen.  That was a great story.


Kay said...

Those are great thoughts. :)

Julian of Norwich's words and the thought of "let go" were a major theme of the last chapter of John Ortberg's "Faith and Doubt." Between it and the show, I felt like I was being given a message. Heh. It could be coincidence too, I'm sure. Either way, I'm listening to the advice.

Andrew said...

Thanks Kay. I think I have watched that end scene like 20 times. :)

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