I’ll never forget the first time I saw the movie Open Water. I don’t remember this experience because the movie was good or because I learned anything particularly beneficial from it. I remember it because of who I watched it with and the misinformation we had been given. This movie came out when I was in high school and I watched it one night with my parents after renting it from the Manhattan movie rental store around the corner. Remember stores where you could rent movies in person? Yes, I am that old.
Anyway, before we watched the movie, my aunt told my mom the end of the movie. My mom likes knowing how things turn out before watching them. I would say that’s weird but I have often found myself looking at the last page of fiction books to see if all the characters are still alive and reading synopsis’ of my favorite TV shows before watching each season. Blasphemy, I know.
The problem with this strategy comes in when you get bad information concerning what actually happens in the end. See, my aunt told my mom that everyone survives at the end of Open Water.
Spoiler Alert: They don’t.
Not a single one. Let’s just say the sharks must have been hungry that day. Or maybe it’s better to sat that they had been hungry.
You can imagine our shock when the movie ends, the credits roll, and everyone is dead. “Wait, are they all dead?” I asked. “You told me they all live.”
“There has to be an extra scene,” my mom said.
Nope. No extra scene. No Easter Sunday resurrection. Just dead.
We had watched the entire movie comforted by the fact that all the characters would be ok in the end. While it all turned out to be wrong in this case, there is something comforting about knowing the end isn’t there? At least when we know the correct end.
This is why I sometimes read the end of the book or the summary of the TV series finale. It informs how I read the rest of the book or watch the rest of the TV series. When I know where everything is headed, I can adjust how I deal with everything before the end. Things that are bad are still bad but can be seen in a different perspective. Questions that seem unanswerable might still be perplexing but aren’t so scary because I know what is going to happen.
The end that you believe is coming shapes how you live today.
The end that you believe is coming shapes how you live today. Are we doomed to a meaningless drift through the cosmos until we all die off? Is everything pointless? Is evil going to win? Or do we know and believe that God has already claimed the victory?
The Good News is that we have been shown the end of our story. The end of our story is found in Revelation 21 where a loud voice proclaims that in the end God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4 NRSV). Then God announces, “See, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). The end of our story is God renews everything in a way that brings total peace. This is the end of our story in Christ.
Death does not get the last word because the tomb is empty. Pain and suffering don’t have a future because God makes all things new. When we are in Christ, we know the end of our story.
The invitation is to live in light of that end now. It doesn’t mean that things aren’t still hard, that we won’t suffer, or that we can just sit back and wait.
The invitation is to live in light of that end now.
It does mean that we are invited to live without fear because we know where everything is heading. We are invited to love and serve with open hands and open hearts because we know we are infinitely loved and nothing can ever take that away. We are invited to stand up for the truth and proclaim that mercy, grace, and justice matter and are worth fighting for no matter how bleak things look because God has claimed victory and is working in our world toward those ends.
The end shapes how we live today. May you live in light of resurrection, peace, and joy.