My husband and I consciously choose to watch only one television show at a time, which we watch, well, religiously. For the past few years, our show has been Lost. Its dramatic plot and love stories and perpetual mysteries all piqued my interest, but the show, written by a Catholic and a Jew, also played with philosophical and theological themes that kept me coming back for more. Sunday night's series finale was no exception.
Judeo-Christian language and imagery show up repeatedly. There's Jacob, who, to pass the mantel of leadership of the island to Jack Shepherd, dips a cup into water and says, "Drink this." The scene is laden with references to the Last Supper. There's Jack's father, Christian Shepherd, who dies and comes to life again, as one of a handful of resurrected characters. Light is the source of all goodness. Miraculous healings abound.
But, as much as the show draws on Christian symbols, it doesn't offer a Christ figure. There is no personal deity. Although "the island," through Jacob, summons wayward individuals to itself, those individuals are then on their own, left to call forth their individual light and let it shine as they see fit. Lost could easily be dismissed as yet another syncretistic attempt to speak in vaguely positive spiritual terms, failing to say anything specific about God.
One aspect of Sunday's show stands out, however, for its theological truth. Over the course of the past season, two story lines have been playing out in tandem. In one, the characters never crashed on the island. Their flight from Australia lands in Los Angeles without a hitch,and they go on with their normal lives, with varying degrees of happiness. In the other, life on the island continues, as the same characters battle ...1
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