How does that story end anyway?

A television series you enjoy—cancelled before a proper conclusion. A book you’re reading, a cliff-hanger till the last, sadly missing, page. A fascinating conversation floating to you from the next restaurant table, but then things get too loud to hear the rest.

Unfinished stories surround us.

Last week, some regular readers of the print version of Sunny Side Up noted an unfinished story here too. In one of the newspapers that publish it, the last paragraph had disappeared.

“Kathleen,” some wondered. “What happened? What was the strange rod, and did you make it home?”

For those who didn’t read last week’s column, I’ll try to catch you up. I wrote about hearing a sudden scraping noise emerging from under our vehicle as the Preacher and I drove at highway speed. We pulled over, discovered a detached dangling rod, pulled it out, then went on our way.

The vehicle seemed fine. However, the Preacher had commented that the rod must have previously supported something. That concerned me more than a bit. Much to his amusement, instead of having faith that no matter what, God knew our situation and would help us handle any possible outcome, I worried all the way home. After all, support rods get installed for a reason. What if something vital dropped off, making things worse?  

The unpublished missing ending explained what happened. So, for those readers who wondered, here’s the rest of the story.

“Safely back home, the Preacher took the rod to our mechanic neighbour. He shook his head and chuckled. ‘That’s off a fuel line. But it didn’t come from your van.  You must have picked it up along a road somewhere.’ No worries.” And now you know.

Here’s another unfinished story, far more important.

The New Testament book of Acts, presumed to have been penned by the disciple Luke, details the beginnings of the Christian faith, a faith considered heretical by Jewish religious leaders who refused to accept Jesus as Messiah. In the early days of Christianity, as they are in certain places today, his followers were hunted, persecuted and often martyred.

The book is a sequel to the Gospel records of  “all that Jesus began to do and teach while on earth.” It includes the story of Paul, a Jewish leader who became a pivotal figure in early Christianity. Before a remarkable encounter with Jesus, after which he became an unwavering follower, Paul had tried to destroy the faith, capturing Christians like rats in the streets. (Ironically, tradition says that Paul himself was martyred.)

Acts feels unfinished. Here’s why: the narrative of Jesus’ work on earth and the faith he established is still being written. However, the Bible clearly states that Jesus will one day return. Everyone will then know the ending of that story. We’ll know who genuinely followed him, and we’ll know who didn’t.

You and I are characters in that unfinished story. We choose our parts. Which is yours?