I imagine life and death on a timeline, one the absolute antithesis of the other. And yet, there’s a strange bond between the two.
To me, the television show ‘LOST’ is perfect. You probably know that by the fact that this is my second blog post about it. From the actors and actresses to the plot to Michael Giacchino‘s awesome (yes, I can use that word to describe it) soundtrack, for me it hardly sets a foot out of place. Having seen the whole thing before and watching it back again, I’m only more convinced of what a television masterpiece it is. Yesterday we worked our way up to episode 20 of the first season, entitled ‘Do No Harm’.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE PLOT!
The episode is all about Claire and Boone. Claire is in labour in the middle of the jungle with a few of the key characters (I won’t say their names to avoid confusion). Meanwhile Boone, having fallen off a cliff, is fighting for his life while Jack, the only doctor/surgeon on the island is trying desperately to save him. As the episode progresses, things get serious for both characters – Claire starts to have doubts and puts herself in real danger whilst Jack, having just improvised a blood transfusion battles with the inevitably that Boone is beyond rescue. Seconds away from a gruesome leg amputation, Boone stops Jack and asks him to let him die. In a very emotional scene, Claire gives birth to a baby boy as Boone passes away. The scene below is directly in the wake of life and death; Jack has to tell Boone’s sister that he has died, whilst the rest of the stranded islanders get to meet Claire’s new baby. It’s beautiful:
Not only one of my favourite scenes, but also one of my favourite pieces of music ever. The juxtaposition of life and death in this episode was particularly poignant for me because it just…worked. It’s interesting how joy and devastation – the emotional opposites of each other combine so naturally and powerfully. For me, it’s another reason that I find it impossible to deny God.
In July 2010, there was a tragedy within the Kerith Community Church community. Nineteen year old Annie Clague was killed in a car accident. I actually wrote two blog posts around then that if you have the time, I’d love for you to read. It explains how I was feeling then far better than anything I could say almost two years on:
The following few weeks quite simply changed my life. I remember rehearsing with the band that were heading out to Albania the following week; the utter elation as we practised our epic closing song for the concerts we would be hosting there; the indescribable devastation as Lee told us the news directly afterwards. Many of the band members were far closer to Annie than I was. I remember that horrendous evening, the many tears as we gathered at a friend’s house (the same one I watched LOST tonight at incidentally), walking through my front door and falling to pieces as I climbed up the stairs. I shouldn’t have felt like that. I didn’t understand it. I remember the desperate silence the next day. Everything stopped – people were around, but they weren’t really there. Their minds were a long, long way away. I remember the most packed out prayer meeting I’ve ever seen and some of the most inspirational leadership from our Senior Pastor in this dark time. I remember the decision being made to go ahead with ‘LIFE’, our Friday night youth group. I remember the band rehearsing all through the day so we could give everything we had to God in our time of desperation. ‘The Lord Is My Rock’ was played for the first time. We meant it. I remember one of the most incredible worship experiences of my life and a remember many people making the decision to follow Jesus in the wake of Annie’s passing. Life juxtaposed with death.
I remember the discomfort of flying out to Albania and the strange feeling of leaving home during such a terrible time. I remember how unshakable the group felt – because of Annie, we had a new understanding of the importance of our trip. We wanted God to use us powerfully, to work through us and to see lives; eternities changed. One man came to a concert…and then to the conference. He gave his life to Jesus. Life juxtaposed with death. He helps lead an alpha course now and there is a possibility that he will be his church’s Youth Pastor. I remember some crazy amount like fifty (maybe even upwards of eighty, but a lot) people gave their lives to Jesus that week. Life…once again, juxtaposed with death. I remember rehearsing in Albania for the funeral the day after we got home. It meant a lot to do it well. I remember seeing the balcony as full as the downstairs for the funeral – I’ve never seen that before. What an impact Annie had.
And we know that in all things God works together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose – Romans 8:28.
There are more stories I could tell about the life that came from Annie’s death, but I don’t think it would add much. It was an odd kind of dejected joy that filled my heart as I saw the lives that were utterly transformed through this tragedy. But God works for the good. Even if we can’t see it yet. I still don’t understand why Annie had to die, but I’m thankful that if she did, it brought so many people into eternal relationships with Jesus Christ. Yesterday’s episode of LOST was a strong reminder that life and death are not really so far from each other after all.
I apologise for my incoherent ramblings today, I really just wanted to get that off my chest and I really don’t know what else to say about something that’s still fairly sensitive after all this time. I hope it made a little bit of sense.