You sit down and turn on the TV, ready to watch your show. Amidst the plethora of true junk that’s out there, this is one of the good ones, with believable characters, compelling plots, life-like stories. As you watch, you’re pulled into the action and the drama; you feel the hurt and the joy, cringe when the music suddenly changes to a foreboding theme. The story unfolds and you’re no longer aware that you’re not part of it yourself. The suspense grips you and then…
To Be Continued….
Don’t you hate that? Right at the best part, the screen goes black and those three dreaded words appear, begging you to wait another week before finding resolution.
That’s how the gospels end, too. The first four books of the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—tell the story of Jesus’ life on earth. They build to a climax with his arrest and crucifixion, reach a dramatic resolution in his resurrection, and end with, “Now, go…” (Matthew 28:16-20). And we’re left wondering, “what happens next?” To Be Continued….
The book of Acts continues the story but that, too, ends with To Be Continued…. And that’s where we come in, where you come in. We are the continuation of the story. We are the next episode.
In The Hobbit, the introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings trilogy, the great grey wizard Gandalf invites the very comfortable and predictable hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, to join an adventure:
“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.”
“I should think so—in these parts!” said our Mr. Baggins. “We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.”
But the whole book “is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected.”
Jesus invites us to join him on an adventure; indeed, to write—and participate in—the next episode. What will your adventure look like?