Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I’ve honestly never been much of a TV junkie but it seems that the constant attention needed by two young children has made that quiet time at the end of the day in front of the TV to be a more appealing form of entertainment in my life. Recently, Jess and I started watching this new show called “Flashforward”. In the very first episode everyone in the world blacks out at the same time for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Of course, this causes major catastrophes; planes crash when their pilots black out, cars pile up as their drivers lose consciousness, and surgeons black out in the middle of surgeries. Obviously, much of the show is spent trying to figure why these black outs happened and if they will happen again.

But the really compelling and creative part of the story line is that during those 2 minutes and 17 seconds of unconsciousness, everyone who survives has a glimpse of the future. In fact, as the story progresses you find out that everyone had a glimpse of exactly the same few minutes 6 months in the future. Not only that but all of these “flash forwards” correspond so that if you saw someone in your flash forward it means that they saw you in their flash forward. As you can imagine, these glimpses of the future have a great impact on how all the characters in the story behave in the present. Some want to avoid the future they saw at all costs, some desperately want it to come true, others wonder if they have any freedom to change it, and some become so obsessed with what might happen that they have trouble living in the present. Despite the varied reactions to the flash fowards, the one thing no one can do is ignore them. Every decision, though not determined by it, is directly impacted by this collective vision of what is to come. This is a story where the present is being shaped less by the past than by the future.

I find this to be a remarkable metaphor for the Christian life, especially as we enter the season of Advent. We, too, have been given a glimpse of the future. In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ we have been given a vision of the kingdom of God. We have been given a glimpse of how all life will one day be lived; in complete obedience to the reign of God. Of course, this vision has not yet come true; the kingdom has not yet come in its fullness. We have only gotten a glimpse of what to expect and we are left in the present trying to figure out how to best order our lives now according to this future that we await. Some in our world will do everything they can to prevent this future reign of God from taking place. But as Christians, we long for it desperately and we order our whole lives according to this kingdom that is to come but is not yet here.

This Advent season, as we await the return of our King, consider once again what it means to have your life shaped by this hope for the future. How does the glimpse of the future kingdom given to us through Jesus Christ change the way we are to live today? How will the decisions you make today, this week, and this month be impacted by the knowledge that God’s reign is on its way?

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