The Gospel According to Downton Abbey
The new Downton Abbey film, which I look forward to seeing this week, has me reflecting on some favorite moments from the PBS series.
During the second season, set during World War I, the Crawley family transforms Downton into a hospital. Beds and injured soldiers fill rooms once resplendent with gold. The Crawley family changes their century-old traditions to accommodate the healing of those injured in war. After the war ends and the family returns to their traditions, newfound peace seems present. However, war still dominates the conversation. The house may look like it did before the war, but the people are not the same – except for the Dowager Countess, played by Dame Maggie Smith.
Lady Sybil, her justice-loving granddaughter, notices that the Countess talks lovingly of life before the war and calls her out on it.
“Granny, do you really want for things to be the way they were before the war?”
Without hesitation or exclamation, the Countess answers, “Of course I do.”
The family exchanges quick glances that convey the same message: the Countess wishes for something that cannot be. Downton’s rooms may look like they always did, but they are not the same because of the wounded who have lived in them.
During our current worship series I’ve occasionally referred to an old order of worship that a friend of mine found recently. It was saved by someone who visited our church in February of 1963. It has been fun to learn from this piece of history. Some things are the same in our church, but so much has changed because of the time passed and the people who have passed through our pews.
It’s human nature for us to long for feelings of times past, but we set ourselves up for disappointment if we try to live in the past. While Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, the ways the church shares his good news may change so as to reach more people. Let us give thanks for what has been, and let us walk into the future unafraid of how we change for the better!
all good things to each of you,
Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 29, 2019
Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15
Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16
1 Timothy 6:6-19