Sunday, July 26, 2009

Unorthodox Wisdom, Part 8: Television

Last week, I listened to Public Radio's "Speaking of Faith" (a show that may have come up a time or two before!) and their discussion about television. In recent years, with the advent of high quality cable drams, television has been awash in writing and acting of extremely high caliber. And many of the shows have not shied away from spiritual musings. To give just one example, Damon Lindelof, co-creator of Lost, offered this explanation for the show:

This show is about people who are metaphorically lost in their lives, who get on an airplane, and crash on an island, and become physically lost on planet Earth. And once they are able to metaphorically find themselves in their lives again, they will be able to physically find themselves in the world again. When you look at the entire show, that's what it will look like. That's what it's always been about.

Krista Tippett mused that the metaphor of going home suffuses the human experience. It's the theme not just of modern television but of the Odyssey and the Exodus. I would add Watership Down and The Razor's Edge to that list. One of the great themes of literature and worship is the idea of returning home. Having played organ for a funeral at Bethany last week, I'm acutely aware of how many of our best known hymns are also about our eternal home and rest.

The theme of going home does not always lend itself to hymn texts that are theologically profound enough for inclusion in the ELW and the traditional Lutheran canon. But I'll close today with a somewhat popular hymn on the theme that you may be familiar with. It is sung to the tune of the second movement of Dvorak's New World Symphony:

Going home, going home,
I'm just going home.
Quiet-like, slip away -
I'll be going home.
It's not far, just close by;
Jesus is the door;
Work all done, laid aside,
Fear and grief no more.
Friends are there, waiting now.
He is waiting too.
See His smile! See His hand!
He will lead me through.

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