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Scott’s Column: The End is Coming

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
May 9 2019

Do you watch Game of Thrones?

I came a little late to the party, about time for the third season, I think.  I caught up on the previous episodes, bingeing all of season 2 in one night, and then read all the published books.

In case you don’t know, this is the final season, with two episodes remaining.  Discussing the previous night’s story has now become the “meeting after the meeting” of our weekly Monday staff meeting, for the three of us who watch.  Spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen this season yet for what I’m about to write next.

The third episode of this season, “The Long Night,” is the battle between the forces of humankind and Death, as embodied in the Night King and his zombie army.  The rousing exchange between Melisandre and Arya is now printed on t-shirts: “What do we say to the God of Death?”  “Not today.”

To me the most beautiful and affecting scene of that episode was the very end, when Melisandre walks away into the snow, removing her magic amulet that delayed her aging. To me there was a deeper meaning of this development—Death as a malevolent force had been defeated, freeing humanity to die a natural death.

And then the next (not very good) episode reminded us that actual human life is far more complicated, messy, and difficult than any clear battle between good and evil.

So, how will it all end?

In our Wednesday Night Bible Study we are nearing the completion of this semester’s study of the Book of Revelation.  We are also coming to an end, the End, actually.  Scholar Michael Gorman reminds us it is “the climax of the book of Revelation, the New Testament, the entire Bible, the whole story of God, and also the story of humanity.”

And it doesn’t disappoint.  The ending “impresses the reader with its magnificence, beauty, and scope, not to mention its vivid sense of human flourishing before God, of true healing and life.”  Gorman describes the final chapters as “aesthetically, literarily, and theologically satisfying.”  Indeed.

What is the End?  “It is the legitimate hope for liberation from poverty and oppression, and for the fullness of life as God intended it to be.”

I’m glad we’ll be enjoying this ending in Bible study the next few weeks, because I don’t expect Game of Thrones to end so well.