Read 1 John 3:16-18

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NLT).

As a The Walking Dead I must say that I am extremely happy with the series finale. Season 11 has been the most engaging, enthralling, spiritual and brilliant season of the entire series in my humble opinion. Everything has, in some ways, come full circle and you really get a sense that the shows creators intended the show to come to this place all along, especially the show’s adept theological underpinnings.

Case in point, without any spoilers (as you know I run a tight no-spoiler ship), let’s look at episode 19, which is entitled, “Variant”. In that episode, Lydia (who’s only a teenager) is up on platform keeping watch for any threats, including the possible zombie herd which can really wreak havoc. One of the adult characters, Aaron sees her and joins her asking if she would like him to cover for her. She declines and he can tell that something is up between her and her friend Elijah.

So, being concerned for her, he asked her if something was up between them. She mentioned how there was a “moment” between her and Elijah, meaning that she was falling in love with him and him with her. The moment was that they almost kissed and that really freaked Lydia out. Why? Because it brought back too many memories of her boyfriend, Henry, who died an awful and horrific death.

“I…uh…I don’t think can again,” Lydia told Aaron, in a sad and depressed and wounded way.

Aaron, seeing her about to break down and at a loss of words, began to speak. “I…uh…used to be married once.” From there he proceded to tell her how he met his husband back in Washington D.C. His husband, Eric, would continually ask him out and he kept saying no. There was an instant connection between them, but for 6 months he kept saying no.

“Why?” Lydia asked him.

“I don’t know. I guess I thought I was too busy or that I    wasn’t ready. Maybe I was just afraid,” Aaron replied. “But eventually I said yes, and our time together, those years in Alexandria, it was the happiest moments of my life.”

Aaron, pausing with tears in his eyes, took a deep grief-filled sigh. “You know, after he died, I thought, you know, I’d give anything to take back just one of those nos so that we could have one more day together.”

Then, pausing, Aaron looked at her and said, “Lydia, loss is inevitable. It always has been. The only thing we can control is when we say yes.” Walking away, Aaron left Lydia there to keep watch and think about her relationship with Elijah.

Friends, this is an example of the deep kind of theological and spiritual content you find in this show. Here we have a teenaged woman, who is confessing to her friend…and a mentor to her…how she is no longer able to let herself have a relationship with someone she likes because of the loss she has faced.

This is a common side-effect, or consequence more appropriately, of grief. We’ve all been through it. We find ourselves bargaining with God, angry that we have experienced loss at all, perhaps guilty, and certainly in despair. Those things can lead us, if we succumb to it, to withdrawl and not allow anyone to come close to us again. This is exactly what Lydia was going through, and Aaron understood it because he had experienced it too.

While it may be, in context, be focused on her relationship with Elijah, Aaron’s words to Lydia are true for us too. Loss is inevitable. We live in a broken world of loss and pain and suffering. Loss has always been inevitable. And that pain can cause us to say NO to others as well as saying NO to Christ. The only thing we have control of, by the grace of God, is when we say yes. Christ, in fact, calls us to say yes to drawing close to him and to us drawing others to as well.

We can say no because of the loss, the hurts, the pain we’ve suffered, because we find it too risky or painful. We can allow our brokenness to shut us down, or we can SAY YES to Christ and yes to being in a godly relationship with others. Through Christ we can avoid shutting down and saying no, and we can live a fulfilled life of YES to being builders of Christ’s community, the Kingdom of God, on earth as it is in heaven.

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Lord Alfred Tennyson

Lord, help me to grow in my capacity for love, despite the hurts and hang ups I have. Heal me and use me in service of your kingdom. Amen

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