I have to confess that over the past couple of months, we have become a tiny bit addicted. Only a tiny bit, but nevertheless a very small obsession has emerged. You see, at the end of the day, whenever we've finished work, forever hopeful that we might, just might get a full night's sleep and not be wide awake at 4.17am, we sit down to watch something. Something that will be entertaining. Something amusing. Something not too stimulating. Nine times out of ten there isn't much on. But...but now we've discovered 'The Crown' on Netflix - and we love it.
Now I know that we are very behind the times, and you have probably watched every single episode, but it's compulsive viewing. I've even managed to suppress my feeling of disloyalty to HM for watching it. Although I think she comes out of it rather well. I have absolutely no idea how much of it is fact, or how much of it is fiction. But we are thoroughly enjoying it and have even justified watching two episodes in one sitting!
One of the things that occurs to me is just how much the institution of the monarchy has changed in my lifetime, little by little, step by tiny step. But change it has, responding to our culture and society, seeking to be relevant and engaged. The episode focussing on Lord Altrincham (of whom I had never heard) was fascinating. Whether he met the Queen or not is a question for debate, but from what I have read, his influence was enough for the Queen (and her advisors) to stop certain things and to start others. Who would have thought that a televised Christmas message or a garden party for people like you and me could be so radical and contentious?! I cannot help but think that the survival of the monarchy has been partially due to a willingness to change - despite personal preferences and opinions. The essence of monarchy remains the same, but the expression of it has changed and is changing.
I believe the same is true for another institution - the church. The essence of the church as the body of Christ remains the same as it did when the first believers met together in the Temple or in their homes to worship God. But the expression of it has shifted and changed over the years. And it needs to change and adapt for its survival, so that the message of God's unconditional love for us is seen to be relevant and engaging now, and for future generations.
God bless you and those you love. And God bless her Madge and her family.