I came to Downtown Abbey a little late. A few months before Season 2 started, my friend Shannon said, “You have GOT to watch this series on Netflix!” So I did. Instantly hooked.
If you had asked me (and someone did) why I like it so much I would have said, “Because it’s just spectacular – the castle, the grounds, the wardrobe. But the thing I like most is that the hero Lord Grantham truly loves his wife.” I mean, they sleep in the same bed when the trend is for everyone to have their own room. They are open about their love. They confess, though, that when they first married, this was not the case. But over time they began to love each other deeply. He managed his estate with integrity, kindness and love for his family.
I just loved that. I began to realize that, in my mind, HE is a hero. A man who loves his wife.
Then Jane came. Poor thing. She really did nothing wrong except be a new servant in a rich man’s house, a young widow, beautiful, and in the wrong place at the wrong time. We saw it coming, didn’t we? First it was a one-on-one conversation, and then it was just tiny, almost imperceptible looks from him to her.
And then, the kiss. That’s all it was -- a kiss. (Wait. Did I just say that’s “all it was”??? Ugh. Listen to me; even I’m doing it. It’s no big deal. It’s just a kiss.)
But, it devastated me. I slammed my laptop shut, and yelled “NO!” (I know. I’m weird.) I was genuinely angry. I just wanted a story with a hero who didn’t disappoint, you know? Just one flippin’ story, for crying out loud. Is that too much to ask? All around me are stories about heroes who disappoint. I hear it in country music (now that my kids are OSU cowboys, there’s a lot of country music around here). I see it on TV. I listen to my friends cry out in fear for their own marriages and in pain of marriage covenants already broken. I hear the cynicism about marriage leak out of my kids’ mouths. And I’m reminded about my own story about a hero who disappointed me, my children, our community.
Sometimes it’s too much. Make it stop.
But then I remembered. Jesus came. Jesus came to be my hero. God breathed life into Adam and Adam was happy and unafraid until he sinned. And when he did sin, God began a work that is still going on. He sent out Jesus to rescue his children. He sent out Jesus to be my hero. His journey has been misunderstood and misrepresented and even been used to justify evil. But he is the hero who doesn’t disappoint. He is on a mission to rescue me and his mission cannot fail. He will not be sidetracked by beautiful servants in his house. He will not be lured by any idols in his heart. He came. For me. And he never stops coming after me.
All other stories may mimic the redeeming love of Christ, but they all fall short. Thank God, every analogy breaks down at some point. Only Jesus can be the perfect hero. He is the only one who can love us as we long to be loved. He is the only one powerful enough to rescue us from everything dark – around us and within.