Have you ever wanted to be a character in your favorite television show? Of course you have. Me too. Television is the warm blanket that we pull over ourselves when we need a little break from the harshness of the world. It’s like reality with bumper lanes.
Television characters come in for a fair amount of grief in the form of car bombs, kidnappings, cancer scares or brushes with zombies. But however much you adore your televised heroes, it’s unlikely that their tribulations will interfere with your popcorn-munching. Dramatic tension feels “safe” to us in the context of a televised serial, because we already know that beloved characters have “plot shields” protecting them from the worst. The writers of the show know that they can’t kill the central characters, or they themselves will be out of work. Occasionally more peripheral characters do come to grief, but unless it’s a season finale, there’s generally not much cause for concern.
Wouldn’t it be nice if life were really like that? Surprise! In a way, it is.
Reading through the Gospels, we find two very prominent themes in everything Jesus says about the future. First, very bad things are going to happen. And second, everything will turn out fine.
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