Whovians everywhere are digesting the news that Matt Smith, the 11th incarnation of the Doctor, is to leave the show; a bitter pill for many, a sweet release for some, but we are all asking the same question, ‘Who now?’.
Will #12 be younger or older, male or female, blond, brown, grey, or ginger at last; slightly less Earthman, more obviously alien?
Time will slow down until this second most important question is answered. All we know for sure is that, like so much in the Vortex, this too is ultimately out of our hands; well, out of my hands anyway.
I will say this; I wouldn’t mind if #12 picks up a dog along the way; (a real, live, raggedy, ‘Earth-dog’ though; not a dog-in-a-can); maybe something ‘gawky’ but loyal-an Irish setter; or something ‘comic’ but clever-a Beagle (just definitely not a Daschund).
I was struck by the depth of feeling in the eulogizing over Matt Smith’s portrayal on the BBC website; the appreciation and the regret at his ‘passing’.
Steven Moffat, the lead writer and executive producer said, ‘Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me: the way he’d turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry, I just never knew what was coming next. The Doctor can be clown or hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently. And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show, he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Whatever we threw at him-sometimes literally-his behavior was always worthy of the Doctor.’
Nice. It brought to mind the grief of the companions, River Song, Amy, Rory, and even Clara, whenever their beloved friend and protector has seemed to be on the way out.
There was the ‘is he worth it?’ angst of River as she chose to give up her own regenerative energy to restore him to life in ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ for instance.
There was the tearful pleading of Wilfred, begging the Doctor to protect himself against the Master at any cost, ‘…and please don’t die. You’re the most wonderful man and I don’t want you to die.’ … in ‘The End of Time’.
But since we think in terms of parables here, of how the Doctor’s lives might reflect the life of Christ and His relationship with his companions, his disciples, or in the bigger picture, His Church, this all led to thoughts of the grief the disciples showed (the women in particular) at his crucifixion, and their joy and wonder at His resurrection, and their life changing experience of his return; Christ’s own Spirit in them to be with them forever, ‘even to the end of the age’ (to the end of time itself but then, endlessly, into eternity).
I began to think about what Jesus said to his disciples about that; about their place in the world until he would come again, in the flesh, to claim his Bride, the Church, and establish His Kingdom; when ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
We have been, for 2000 years now, the body of Christ, the presence of Christ, in the world; the aroma of life and of death; salt and light, his ambassador’s; his soldiers; athletes on his team; living stones; witnesses to his grace and love, sent into all the world.
And then I began to wonder; if the world suddenly learned that we (the Church) were about to be axed from the ‘show’ (defeated at last by a mutual enemy) how would they feel about that?
Would they miss us?
Would they launch a twitter campaign, storm the blogosphere, demonstrate in the streets and squares with posters declaring their support for the Church, for all those Christians they have come to know, appreciate and even love, at work, at school, in politics and the professions; in the arts and sports?
Would they jump to our defense, willing to lie down in front of the tanks for us or at least with us, saying ‘No’ you can’t take these from us; they mean too much, they are among the best of us; they are good, and loving and kind; we may not agree with them but they have shown us God in the flesh, they have loved us, done us good, helped us defeat some of our worst enemies.
Well, I know I have not taken into account the fact of sin and that many would probably be more inclined to cheer the passing of the light than defend it.
So let’s focus on the ‘small’ picture.
Would anyone miss me, because I have been to them, in some way they perhaps have not quite figured out yet, an intimation of a life better than the one they already know?
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16