I’ve been a big fan of the show Lost these six years gone by–the well-spun tale of  survival and redemption (?) on a mysterious, powerful island somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Whether you watch the series or not, you’ve probably heard stories of the wildly unpredictable plot pitting crazy, charcoal-hearted bad guys against complicated, flawed heroes just about every week (and we’re often not sure which is which…).  Dr. Ben Linus is one of the guys we love to hate–a pitiless shell of a man who has manipulated people’s lives like so many pawns on the Island’s proverbial chess board time and time again.

But a few weeks ago, Ben gave me pause.

At the end of his rope, in despair over the evil he has wreaked upon the inhabitants of the Island and inconsolable over the cruel death of his only daughter, an armed and desperate Linus flees through the jungle only to be caught and confronted by a lady named Ilana.  While unconvincingly training his rifle at her, Ben begs Ilana to let him go back to be with “John Locke”, the human embodiment of evil on the Island.  Ilana asks him why and he wretchedly replies, “He’s the only one who will have me.”

Then, in what I consider to be one of the most powerful, moving moments of Lost’s six-season run, Ilana looks Ben in the eyes and quietly replies, “I’ll have you.”

Flashing back to the real world of these western suburbs, I can’t help but believe that many of us feel like Ben Linus–ashamed of our failure and sin, mourning the loss of a life not-well-lived–convinced we have so far fallen out of grace we can’t be loved, won’t be forgiven, won’t be had.

As a community of flawed, complicated people desperately in need of forgiveness, acceptance and welcome, I want to be like Ilana–like Christ–who’ll always have us, no matter what our stories or our sin.   My prayer for Blanchard is that we continue to move deeper in our personal and community commitment to practicing the radical hospitality which Christ richly extends to us with each new day.

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose…   Phil. 2:1-2 (NIV)