Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

November 10, 2019: Basking in God

From Ray McGinnis


Downton Abbey is a film based on the popular six-season television series that ran from 2010 to 2015. The film is set in 1927, a year and a half after the TV series ended. Downton Abbey is the English Country House (mansion) of Robert and Cora Crawley, the hereditary Earl and Countess of Grantham. They have been notified by Buckingham Palace that King George V and Queen Mary are on a Royal Tour of England and will be visiting Downton Abbey when they come to the Yorkshires. Queen Mary’s lady-in-waiting, Lady Bagshaw (Maude), will be part of the entourage. Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith), Dowager Countess of Grantham, is displeased with the news. Robert Crawley is Maud’s cousin and her closest relative. The two families have become estranged over the matter of who should inherit Maud’s estate.


Downton Abbey is set on 5,000 acres that includes stands of oak, beech, fir and elm. In addition to the woods, there are hills and dells, creeks and breathtaking views from the “house” across the countryside. It is dotted with landscaped lawns and rose gardens, topiary and other adornments. The mansion itself is an ode to architecture with attention to every detail in craftsmanship.


The film depicts the lives of the Crawley aristocrats, who are waited upon – hand and foot – by their servants who live downstairs. As much as the aristocrats are adorned in the finest clothing and accessories, their butlers, maids, cooks, chauffeurs and gardeners are all provided with outfits that are of a standard expected of the upper-classes. This is a “no jeans zone.” At one point in the film, Robert Crawley, when asked if he wants to put Downton Abbey up for sale, replies, “What do you think? I have given my life to Downton. I was born here, and I hope to die here. I claim no career beyond the nurture of this house and the estate. It’s my third parent and my fourth child.”


Type: Drama-Romance

Director: Michael Engler

Film company: Carnival films

Release date: September 20, 2019

Starring: Matthew Goode, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery


Focus: In preparation for the visit of the King and Queen, staff from Buckingham Palace arrive first. They announce that the Downton Abbey staff will not be serving the royal couple. Instead, the royal staff from Buckingham Palace will serve the dinner guests and decide the menu. The servants at Downton Abbey are upset. They feel it would be an honour to make dinner for the royals. And so they scheme to replace the Buckingham Palace servants and make a menu of their own from the local market.


Explore…Psalm 145: 1–5, 17–21

  • Psalm 145 is an acrostic poem. In the original Hebrew, each verse begins with the consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. What is the psalmist meditating on in this psalm? Why is it beneficial to bask in the splendour of God’s majesty?
  • Why does Robert Crawley not want to put Downton Abbey up for sale? Why does he think the place is so splendid?
  • What places do you like to visit that remind you of the majesty of God’s abundance and creation?



Majestic Creator, you are the source behind the artist, the weaver, the architect, the woodworker, the gardener, the photographer, the chef, the painter. Help us as we seek to make things beautiful in our specific circumstances. Whether we are aristocrats or working class, living in times of peace or war, a golden era or times of trial, help us meditate on your majesty and find within ourselves the desire to praise you. In Christ we pray. Amen.


Learn more…

Send a question or note
[email protected]

Contact the Publisher