LOST is one of those shows that has captured my mind and heart, and so when it ended this past week after a six-year-run, I was sad. But I was also glad. And I was glad because of the ending. I loved the fact that after six years, all was made right. Sinners are penitent and forgiven, the dead are resurrected, fathers and sons are brought together, lovers are reunited, the crippled are healed, and ‘Christian Shepherd’ opens the doors to Paradise in a church where all are seated and awaiting redemption. And then celestial light pours into the nave, drowning out all the smiling faces. THE END. I mean, wow!
Now, not everyone shares my appreciation for how LOST ended. And I would agree with some of the criticisms, like: why didn’t they tell us what the Island was all about (I mean, is it Atlantis, some weird Egyptian outpost, etc.), what’s with Jacob and the Man in Black, what was that ‘light’ at the center of the Island and why was it rather ‘lamely’ corked? I understand these criticisms. But it seems that the main protest regarding the final episode is that it was not true to what we’ve known of LOST these past six years. After all, the show has been about mystery, ambivalence, nuance, conflict, complexity, loose-ends, surprises, and dizzying plot lines. And LOST’s gloriana-conclusion seemed to be too neat, too predictable, and too redemptive for some devotees. Too much celestial light!
And yet I think that LOST ended rightly—at least from a Christian perspective. We Postmoderns are known for many things, but chief among them is our cynicism. We have spent our whole lives deconstructing the realms of politics and religion and family and government until we resign ourselves to the fact that there are no happy endings, ever. We balk at movies with credits set in front of sunsets and wild horses and pretty castles. We know that life doesn’t work that way. After all, every relationship, every community, every church, is constantly compromised by the ambivalence of murky reality.
But Christians have an eschatological expectation. In fact, we have ‘a sure and certain hope’ that one bright day, nuance will be entirely outshone by the returning Christ. We look to a grand moment when full restoration will drown every bit of partiality and complexity; when, as St. Paul wrote, Christ will fill all in all.’ This is Christianity’s final word, and it is entirely uncompromising, bold, and bright. And in its own way, LOST captured a glimpse of eschatological hope, and it did so with near-Christian clarity. And isn’t that refreshing? I mean, while we expect nuance in front of this ‘gray rain curtain’, don’t we actually want, hope and yearn for something better? Something clearer? Something unflinchingly good? Well, those things are on the way. So, Amen LOST! Drown that nuance, and our cynicism with it! Bring on the celestial light!