In the movie, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”, Steve Carrell plays a lonely man living out his final days before a meteor destroys the earth. While I can’t say the movie is exceptional, there was one thing I liked about it: all the interesting things the bit players choose to do as they wait for the world to end:
A police officer becomes hyper vigilant about minor traffic violations; an elderly woman has a yard sale; a man mows his lawn; teenagers go surfing; looters set cars on fire; a housekeeper refuses to break her routine of diligintly cleaning apartments; one woman wears “everything she never wore”, while others look for anyone and everyone to have sex with. And then there are the people who look for love, walking down to the beach to enjoy the sunshine, embracing strangers, getting baptized, or married, and sharing their food.
As I have observed churches facing their last days, I have found people who do all these things: some become fanatic about maintaining the institution, while others flee the scene. Some use the opportunity to violate appropriate boundaries of behavior, while others become more emotionally bound to one another. Some just keep doing exactly what they always did, as if nothing is changing.
It can be very confusing for a pastoral leader. But it has taught me there are times when we must hold each other accountable for inappropriate behavior: just because you’re hurting, it doesn’t give you the right to hurt others. And there are times when we have to cut each other a little slack: everyone grieves in their own way. Give each other the space to grieve and build those spiritual friendships that will get you through the transition.
What would you do if the end was near? As for me, I hope I would head to the beach!
Click here to see a trailer of the movie.