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TV Snapshot: Sacrifice for the 'Lost'

At the end of "This Place is Death," a wounded John Locke is in the caverns under The Orchid. The mysterious Christian is instructing Locke on what he must do next in order to save the island and his friends. Locke pauses for a moment and then looks up at Christian.

Locke: Richard said I was going to die.

Christian: I suppose that’s why they call it sacrifice.

Locke is quiet.

Locke: Alright. Alright. I’m ready.

This Place is Death” (last week's episode of Lost) is full of good tidbits, but I appreciated this one most. Locke not only realistically confronts the cost of what he’s about to do but also embraces it. We all have moments in our lives that cause us to confront the real costs of the choices we make, what we value and believe and what is worth sacrificing for. What and who do we love? What does that require of us?

As a follower of Jesus, I couldn’t help but find this language of sacrifice all too familiar. Jesus doesn’t shy away from confronting us with the cost of following him:
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)
Or as The Message puts it:
Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
And then there’s this:
This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. (John 15:12-14)
Love and sacrifice are integral and foundational aspects of living in the Kingdom. Jesus summarizes how things work by telling us: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

If God is who he says and can do what he says, if we are created by him and we get our life from him, then this kind of life makes sense. We were made to live in the wide-open spaces of his grace and glory—this is where real, unending, abundant life is. And this is also where love is. And love is looking to do what is in the best interest of others rather oneself. That’s what Jesus did. And that is what we are called to as well. And like Locke, when we finally confront and embrace the costs of this kind of life and what it means to love, we also discover we’re working with God to bring life and right-ness to the broken and "lost" world around us.

As a side note, I’m intrigued that the headquarters for Eloise Hawking is a church with a pendulum dangling from one of its ceilings. I can’t help but think of Foucault’s Pendulum and how it hangs in a building that Wikipedia says has been alternately a church and “a temple to the great intellectuals of France.” Are the writers going anywhere with this? Are they saying anything about the relationship between faith and science? Are they suggesting they are complimentary and integral to each other? Or are they using religious iconography to infuse science as religion? Or perhaps are they indicating that science is superior to religion? Or maybe they mean nothing by it? Heh, it’s just hard not to think that this use of iconography isn’t going somewhere.

(Image: ABC) lostctgy