Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Person of Interest Finale - Ending the Drama

"Mr. Reese?" "Yeah, Finch?"
"Why is Predator hunting us?"
"Maybe he works for Samaritan?"
Every human being is a story in progress. Some end triumphantly; some end tragically. What you learn in screenwriting is that the last moments are the message of the story. How a story ends is ultimately more important than how it begins.

Person of Interest Season 5 ends on a bittersweet note: they satisfy the needs of the plot and characters with a hope in the future, but that future is secured by a cost, a great loss.

It is well done.

In fiction we are often given God's POV with compressed time and multiple scenes. We can see and understand what our heroes are going through. We get a glimpse of their enemies too and find ourselves sympathizing with part of their motivations. As John Bradford humbly remarked, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." [source]

We know we too can be villains, if we are humble enough to admit it.

Drama is about conflict; story is about how the drama works out. No conflict = no drama = no story.

If we have conflict, we have drama. If we have drama, we have story. We have something to tell, a message to give. But if there is no drama, no conflict, we have nothing to say, nothing to give.

"Mr. Reese - is this truly necessary?" "Well, no, Finch, not really...
but I've been the NYC paintball champion for 12 years and I'm not losing today."

We are marginalized. We are ignored. We overcame nothing; we found out nothing. We got nowhere.

The message at the end of Person of Interest was beautiful and profound: that each individual life has a worth -  a great worth - and is worth our lives and resources to redeem if at all possible. The very crew is made up of ugly people who did bad things and learned to love, trust and feel again. Outliers from the community, and very anti-social, they got redeemed by serving others and fighting evil. By serving the "God" Machine, they end up opposing the "Devil" Machine [codenamed Samaritan for irony's sake].

Difficult Disciples Become Determined Apostles
It reminds me of how Jesus tamed His disciples. It reminds me how James and John were called "sons of thunder" and became apostles of the gospel.

I think of how John was 80 when he wrote his gospel--he was 90 when writing Revelations--and how much Jesus changed him. When we read "the disciple whom Jesus loved" in the gospel of John, we Christians tend to think: "The loving disciple of Jesus who writes beautifully about God's love."

I'm afraid that is not the case.

Like Tax-Collector Matthew telling us not to worry about money, Dr. Luke writing about supernatural things, and Staycation Mark telling us about the bold adventures of Jesus, John is not writing about how much he loves Jesus.

He's the Hateful Bastard telling us about God's love for him. "Not that we loved God, but He loved us..."

Like Lionel, and Shaw, and John, and Root and Harold - he was an unloving, anti-social misfit, given to bouts of rage and flesh-satisfying escapades.

But Jesus loved on him until he got better; it only took six decades. Jesus changed him with fierce, unyielding love.

Only God can accomplish this transformation of character.

Only God can end the drama of our lives with deep love for others as we face insurmountable odds.

But only you can know what He will do with you if you go to Him and say "Yes. I will follow you."

A son of thunder did it and his life was changed for all eternity.

You may find that comforting to know, and wonderful to do.

May you too follow Him--so your drama too will end well.

Amen.

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