I really like the new Sherlock Holmes series on PBS that is produced by the BBC and stars British actors. It is in its second season and is set in the modern world in London. Sherlock uses modern technology such as cell phones and computers to assist him in solving crimes in addition to his sharp intuition and genius mind. He is always confronted by his nemesis, Moriarty, who is evil incarnate and will stop at nothing to destroy Sherlock Holmes.
Last night was the final episode of the season. In it, Moriarty created another identity for himself and enlisted the help of other evil persons to assist him in convincing others that Sherlock Holmes was a fraud. The police try to arrest Sherlock and he escapes to the roof of a building where he meets up with Moriarty. They are poised on the edge of the roof where it seems one of them will fall to their death, surely. As I watched that scene unfold, suddenly I began to see the temptation of Christ played out between those two characters. Holmes was the Christ figure trying to defeat Satan, as he did in the wilderness at his temptation. Moriarty threw one problem after another at Sherlock and he would come up with the answer to defeat his evil plan.
Suddenly, though, Moriarty reveals that he has hired three assassins to kill three of Holmes' closest friends. The only way he can save his friends is for he himself to jump off the building and commit suicide. If he does not jump by a certain time, then those three friends will die. Holmes thinks he has it all figured out and can get Moriarty to cancel his plan and suddenly Moriarty kills himself with a gun. Holmes is left with no way out except to jump off the building in order to save his friends. Again, he becomes the Christ figure who gives the ultimate so as to save those who are helpless.
The episode ended with two of Holmes' friends at the cemetery gathered at the grave of Sherlock Holmes. They were venting their feelings about him and asking why he had to die. Very much like the followers of Jesus gathered at the tomb, they talk about Holmes and how much he meant to them. Watson is left alone at the graveside and he begins to talk to Holmes and tell him how much he meant to him. He asks him to do one more miracle for him and to not be dead. As Watson begins to walk away from the graveside, Holmes is seen standing in the shadows to the side. Is he dead or has he been resurrected from the dead by some greater power than what the viewer could see? We will know more next season when the new episodes are made.
Perhaps it is just pastors and theological students who see such things in the media when it is not intentionally intended. This time, though, it seemed so apparent that the life of Christ was being imitated in the art form being presented to the viewer. Holmes is not Christ like most of the time in the episodes that have been made. He is selfish and controlling and uses others to get what he wants. This time, though, he is self-sacrificing and gives up all he has, his very life, so as to save others who do not even know that their lives are in danger. He gives up his life so that others can be saved and, perhaps, finds resurrection as a result. As they used to say in seminary, that will preach.
Life is full of examples that are straight out of the scriptures. Art imitates life in just the same way that life imitates art. We see the Word come alive in the lives of people around us and in the ways that they live out their lives so as to bless the lives of others. We see normal ordinary people do extraordinary things now and then so that others will benefit. When they do, they think little of their acts of kindness or bravery. They are simply doing what humans do...being the love of God to others who need to know it in their own lives.
I love it when suddenly I see a sermon in the world around me. I love it because it is as if God is shouting out what I knew all the time from what I have grasped so far in my many years on this earth. As we like to say in the United Church of Christ, "God is still speaking." And God is speaking in so many ways that we have to pay close attention or we may miss some of what God has to say.