This afternoon we visited “Seaside,” a rather surreally concocted residential community that sits perched on scenic highway A30 along Florida’s Gulf coast. The square plots with their perfectly manicured lawns backing up to cookie cutter houses and a speed limit of 17 mph make the place a strange little world of its own. Its claim to fame? It was the set for the 1998 movie, “The Truman Show,” starring Jim Carrey as an insurance salesman who discovers his entire life is actually a T.V. show. It was worth at least a very short detour after a day on the beach.
It also has me wondering about what it will look like for Christ to “come again to judge the living and the dead,” as the Apostles and Nicene Creeds affirm. Scripture gives frustratingly little detail about what exactly this “last judgment” will look like- (maybe to the great satisfaction of the Tim LaHayes of the evangelical world and a whole industry built around our imaginative fears of the unknown)- so the thoughts that follow are admittedly my own “midrash.” But, I wonder if at least part of God’s judgment will involve a bit of what might be called the “Truman Show Effect” (and by this I do not intend to equate God with a television producer- I’ve worked for one of these before, so feel comfortable ruling out the possibility.) By this I mean, rather, that maybe some day at the end of time God will have us watch our lives all over again in the light of Ultimate Reality, who is Love. Maybe a bit like a complacent, self-absorbed, but slightly befuddled and aggravated Truman who has a suspicion there is more to life than his small, suburban universe, we’ll find ourselves watching a reel of our life played back to us. Maybe we’ll get to see in painstaking detail all those places where we fell short or missed the mark or simply failed to see the God-stirred possibilities for abundant life before us. Maybe there and then face to face with the One who knows and loves us best, we will finally and fully comprehend the great depth of God’s love for us and to just what extent we lived our lives in the shallows.