Friday, January 20, 2017

Five Minute Friday: REFINE



Today I'm linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday.  This week's prompt is "REFINE."

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Downton Abbey ended a year ago, and I'm still missing it. I loved that show. I still re-watch old episodes so that I can go back into that world again. I felt like the Crawleys and their staff were my friends, and sometimes I have this sense that they're still all out there going on with their lives, only without billions of pairs of eyes watching them.

The Crawleys were so refined. The women would come down to dinner in gorgeous, decadent dresses, dripping with jewelry. They'd sit straight-backed, their wrists (never their elbows) resting elegantly on the edge of the table.


And those voices! I loved their sophisticated English accents. If you want a good laugh, CLICK HERE to see a clip of Downton Abbey actors reading their lines in American accents. It's pretty hilarious to see Lord Grantham as an American mogul, pontificating to his kids about properties and acquisitions .... on second thought, let's change the subject. 

It's so easy to get starstruck by elegant people. Their beautiful houses, sophisticated clothing, refined manners ... they must be doing something right. They must be just a bit better than the rest of us.

But the truth is, we're all equal. No one is better than anyone else because of their status, their inheritance, their possessions, or their refined manners. This Irish song that I love, "John O'Dreams," reminds us that at the end of the day -- or the end of life -- we are all on the same level ground:
Both man and master in the night are one;
All things are equal when the day is done.
The prince, the ploughman, the slave, the free man
All find their comfort in old John O'Dreams.

The Bible also reminds us of the surprising humility of Jesus:

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. (Philippians 2:5-7, The Message Bible)

It's fun to immerse myself in the world of the rich and refined for a while, but my comfort comes in knowing that the trappings of wealth and power are not what matter to God. He is a friend to the poor, the weak, the lonely, the powerless. He became one of us to prove that.


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10 comments:

  1. Hi there. Dropping by from Five Minute Friday. I can get a little starstruck by the things the world seems to value sometimes. It's wonderful that God doesn't put His emphasis on these temporary things, isn't it? Blessings!

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    1. Same to you, Heidi! Thanks for commenting. Yes, I agree it's easy to be distracted by priorities that are so different from His. It's great to enjoy lovely things, but they don't determine our value to God.

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  2. I love Downton Abbey! But we actually haven't finished watching the series even though we bought the DVDs. I have to admit, I sat up straighter at the table when I read that part in your post. ;) Great tie-in to the point that we are all on level ground.

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    1. Thanks Kelly - and thanks for coming by to read. I resisted the temptation to put any spoilers in my post since I knew there might be some readers who hadn't finished watching it. :-)

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  3. Nice reflection on refinement, privilege and humility, Jeannie. Regarding DA, what does it say of me that by the end of the series the character I most identified with was Thomas Barrow?

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    1. ANYONE WHO DOESN'T WANT SPOILERS, DON'T READ THIS REPLY!
      Tim, I was reflecting today on Thomas's beautiful redemption. He was mean and hurtful to so many people. He was mean just to be mean, sometimes. He was hurt and he hurt others. But his family (up and downstairs) never gave up on him. They gave him 2nd chances (even when he tricked them into it). They believed in him. They encouraged him. They supported him when they hit bottom, and they gave him a chance to come into his own at last. The smile on his face, when the new work arrangement was settled and he turned to pour the wine for the wedding guests, was beautiful: a smile of knowing he is loved no matter what he has done. It's all very nice that Edith got married to a sweet guy after wrecking 2 or 3 families, but it's Thomas's redemption that is the real story here, for me. So what does it say about you, Tim? It says that you love grace. And so do I!!!

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    2. OK I was a bit mean about Edith there... :-)

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    3. You hit Edith's character fairly well, Jeannie!

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  4. I have probably mentioned this to you already, Jeannie, but perhaps others who are missing Downton Abbey might like to know about my favourite series, Grand Hotel (Gran Hotel), a Spanish series that is well worth having to read subtitles! It's about a Grand Hotel in Spain at the turn of the century, and has a similar upstairs/downstairs cast of characters. Loads of intrigue, romance, humour, mystery. As long as you can put up with the often tongue-in-cheek contrivances that fuel its countless twists and turns, you're in for a really enjoyable ride. And the Spanish is so beautiful to listen to! It took me a couple of episodes to get into it, but then I was hooked.

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    1. You did mention that to me before, Franceen, but I haven't pursued it yet. Thanks for the reminder. I don't mind reading subtitles. There are a couple of movies I've watched where even though they're in English I have to have the subtitles on. One is Gosford Park (which, by the way, is also by Julian Fellowes who wrote Downton; it is really a mid 1930's Downton, actually, but a lot less genteel) -- I need the subtitles on bc the dialogue is so quick and witty and some of the accents so thick, I can't follow it otherwise!

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