It related the New Testament story of Nicodemus (who, according to the Bible, came to Jesus at night). In doing so, it included a recurring character dressed in a trench coat whose presence on the platform was accompanied by a distinctive guitar, saxophone, and brass instrument combined rhythm clearly intended to resemble and evoke the James Bond movie theme.
It is likely that few, if any, of the children involved in the production recognized the musical score, it is also likely that few, if any of the adults present did not! After all, the James Bond franchise is arguably the single most successful ever to come out of Hollywood! To date, after the original twelve novels by Ian Fleming, twenty-seven films based on a total of some fifty plus novels have garnered right at $20 Billion in box office receipts!
(I will have to admit that I have seen each and every one of the Bond films. Indeed, long before I studied western civilization in college, I learned a fair amount of what I knew about world geography from these films. That is to say that before I ever actually visited England, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, India, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, etc…, I had been there vicariously through, first one, then another, of James Bond’s adventures!)
Admittedly, Bond himself is not all that praiseworthy of a character. He clearly has his share of shortcoming. These include his smoking, his drinking, his gambling, and his carousing! Not to mention his personality, which can variously be described as prideful, arrogant, condescending, lustful, patronizing, and/or vindictive. Clearly, Bond is a flawed individual.
Yet, in spite of all his faults (and to his everlasting credit), at the end of the day, he does have two redemptive qualities. He is absolutely devoted to the country in which he lives and to the monarch of that country, whom he serves.
One particular scene in one particular movie serves to illustrate my point. A female villain in India tempts Bond to give up his career as a British Secret Agent and join forces with her in smuggling and other nefarious activities. She states: “We are two of a kind. There are vast rewards for a man of your talents.” Bond responds simply by saying: “I am not for hire.” To which she, aware of his willingness to undertake questionable methods, sarcastically retorts: “Naturally, you are willing to do it for queen and country!”
Nowhere is this devotion to monarch and country on display more than in what has often been decried as the single worst of all the Bond films: “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. In this film, Bond has been denied the opportunity to continue pursuing the arch-villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, by his immediate superior, “M”. Yet, his passion is so great that he threatens to resign if he is not allowed to go after the enemy.
Bond then retreats to his office and awaits the outcome of his gambit. Thereafter, the director of the film frames a shot with Bond at his desk and a picture of the Queen of England above and to his back. As he waits, he turns and acknowledges her overarching presence with a gesture that undeniably implies his complete subservience to her and her kingdom.
Can you relate? I know I can. I readily admit that I am, above all else, a flawed individual. I struggle daily with behaviors and attitudes that are anything but praiseworthy. May God continue to forgive me for these things! And yet, in spite of these things, I find that I still have a passion for my Sovereign and for His Kingdom!
Can you relate?
If so, then I have some good news for you today. In his first New Testament Letter to Timothy (chapter 1, verse 15), no less an individual than the Apostle Paul referred to himself as “the chief of sinners”. Various English translations render this passage as “the worst” and/or as “the foremost” of sinners.
And yet, this same individual also testified (in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 9): “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home (in this world) or absent (from the body), to be pleasing to Him.”
Thus it is that Paul, too, understood his own frailty. And thus it is, also, that Paul passionately desired to serve his Lord and His Kingdom.
If you, like me, are a believer today, then hopefully you will join me in realizing that James Bond is not alone in his devotion to his chosen sovereign. Nor, indeed, is the Apostle Paul.
It is for this reason, no doubt, that we read (in Paul’s New Testament Letter to the Philippians, chapter 2, verse 11) that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
James Bond was not perfect; yet he was devoted to and served his queen and his country. The Apostle Paul was not perfect; yet he loved and served his Master and His Kingdom. I, myself, am not perfect; yet I will continue to do my best to serve my Lord and His Kingdom.
I hope you will do the same!