The hit TV show “Lost” is ending after six years. Its spiritual and mystical plots revolved around island-stranded victims of a plane crash, many seeking salvation. Viewers wonder: Was the doctor character symbolic of Jesus, and the doctor’s father symbolic of God?
Millions watched and hosted “Lost” final-episode parties. My sister-in-law in Washington, D.C., was joined by her friend from Boston to share in the show’s final airing.
I was privileged to see both the pre-last-episode review and the last show of “Lost.” I recalled Jesus’ parables, in Luke 15, about the lost sheep (15:1-7), the lost coin (15:8-10), and the lost son (15:11-31), all of which were joyfully found.
Luke 15:6 tells us that Jesus “Calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me’ I have found my lost sheep.” In the TV program, the stranded “lost” become friends, lovers and enemies during their struggle to survive. Often, violence and bloodshed erupted, imitating reality and making viewers uncomfortable.
Jesus did not shrink from difficult associations with sinners as He led them toward salvation. Nor should we avoid the unpleasant if it helps us unite those separated from God’s love. Like Christ, in Luke 15:4, we are called to leave the 99 righteous sheep to search for His one lost sheep. This is not a waste of effort. The wise shepherd knows that the 99 will be safe in God’s sheepfold, and that the one lost sheep matters.
God’s love for us prompts Him to seek out the lost, unreservedly. He sent Christ to save us from being marooned on islands of despair, desolation and destruction. Our Father rejoices, too, like the doctor’s father, when we are found in God’ house, standing on His Word and believing in His promises.
Before we believed in God’s love, that love sought us. Are programs such as “Lost” encouraging others to seek out God’s love? It is easier to understand a God who forgives sinners than one who tenderly searches for the lost, and who joyfully forgives them, an act of extraordinary love. Is it right for us to spend time in church, ready to condemn the sinner without being able to joyfully forgive?
The church today needs a “Lost and Found” department. One day I hope to view a drama that depicts lost souls arriving in church, greeted by those awaiting them.
What can we take from the TV scene in which the doctor arrives to discover that his father was yet alive and that he, instead, was no longer among the living?
In Luke 15:7, Jesus says, “I tell you in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who (was lost) and repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Let us not judge one another harshly, but commit ourselves to finding those lost.
Do you think the doctor’s father symbolized God? Or that the doctor’s giving of his life for others, an act not in vain, symbolized Jesus’ sacrifice?
Seeing lost souls forgive one another was inspiring. Just as the doctor’s father waited for his son’s return, God awaits ours. I enjoyed “Lost’s” conclusion, one in which the survivors ended up in church loving and forgiving one another…no longer lost, but found.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at email@example.com.