Monday, June 24, 2013

The Gospel According to Downton Abbey

Guest post by John Poitevent

The phenomenon that is Downton Abbey is a complete anomaly. The show, featured on PBS' long running Masterpiece Classic series, is the antithesis of the reality TV trend that has run the gamut from Paris Hilton's Simple Life to Snooki's Jersey Shore. Duck Dynasty not included.

If you're unfamiliar with the show, Downton Abbey is a British period drama depicting the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants as they go through life together at the family estate, Downton Abbey. The show begins with the family hearing the news of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and currently follows them through the early 1920's. 

Something interesting about this story is the parallel plot lines of the aristocrats and the servants, constantly crossing paths though worlds apart. The contrast of the two classes provides an intriguing dichotomy. The servants often face the painful truth that although their hard work is appreciated, and it might increase their position, they are not equal to the Crawleys and never will be. Try as they might, their best efforts could never be enough to change their place in life. (Save the chauffeur who married Sybil. Did you watch last night? How could they? I digress...)

Bottom line is, aristocracy is a dead end... unless you're a member of the chosen family.

One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is 1 John 3:1 "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" Similarly, Ephesians 1:5 explains that, "He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will" and Romans 8:17 goes on to say, "Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."

When we put our faith in Christ we are not only saved but we are adopted, transferred from a lineage of slaves to Aristocrats. Our value is no longer found in our attempts to perform, it is found solely in our Father. Our identity is not determined by WHO we are, but WHOSE we are. We are children of the King! And while that might sound a bit cheesy to say out loud, it is incredibly important for us to understand and believe. You may have heard it before, but is it evident in your life? Is there a quiet confidence in your heart, a sense of total acceptance and security, that confirms your belief?

The Kingdom of God is a monarchy, not a democracy, and we are born again into the Royal Family. Because of this we can wake up in the morning and go to bed at night in peace knowing this: Our Father has chosen us, we are His children, holy and dearly loved. Our status is secure in Him. Our position is not based on our daily work but on His eternal adoption. Receive it, believe it, and stop living like you're on Survivor. This was His idea and He chose to do it, "in accordance with His good pleasure and will."

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