The final episode of Downton Abbey's final season airs this Sunday. A massive audience is expected to watch.
As a veteran of all six seasons, I can tell you that the show's acting and writing are superb, and its clothing and lifestyle details are amazing. However, as with so much of Western culture, the gospel is missing. Apart from perfunctory weddings, funerals, and seasonal services, church plays no part in the characters' daily lives. In the world of Downton Abbey, and in our culture today, we are what we make of ourselves.
How's that working for us?
I've been reading Sue Klebold's A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy. She is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of two teenagers who killed thirteen people and themselves at Columbine High School in 1999.
Looking back on her life before the shooting, she writes, "I had always imagined God's plan for me was aligned with my own plan. I believed with all my heart that if I was a caring and loving and generous person—if I worked hard and gave what I could to charity, if I did my best to be a good daughter and friend and wife and mother—then I would be rewarded with a good life."
The night of the shooting, however, she learned differently: "I felt suddenly ashamed, as if my lifelong understanding of God was starkly revealed as a naïve fiction, a bedtime story, a pathetic delusion. It was the loneliest I have ever felt."
Being a good person is no guarantee of a good life on earth, much less eternal life in heaven. If we could save ourselves, Jesus' death would have been unnecessary and irrelevant. But sin still separates us from a holy God, leading to spiritual, physical, and eternal death (Romans 6:23). This is the inevitable outcome for every person (Romans 5:12), apart from grace.
But Jesus can still forgive every sin and save every sinner. Easter is not just an annual holiday—it can be a reality, every day.
This Sunday at 5:30 PM, while millions are preparing to watch the final episode of Downton Abbey, an amazing event will take place at AT&T Stadium in the Dallas area. Pastor Greg Laurie will bring a message of hope, with music from Chris Tomlin, Lecrae, Switchfoot, and MercyMe. This evangelistic event, called "Harvest America," will be simulcast into thousands of churches, theaters, and living rooms across the country.
Since 1990, 5,347,000 people have attended Harvest America events around the U.S. More than 450,000 have registered professions of faith in Christ. I invite you to join the Denison Forum team in supporting and praying for this amazing gospel celebration.
The good news is still the good news. And that's the best news of all.
Publication date: March 4, 2016
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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