The Shakespeare Code (3/2) is Martha’s first time-travelling adventure with the Doctor. She’s already tried space travel, not by choice but because the hospital she worked in was plucked from earth and dumped on the moon. (You see, the Judoon were seeking justice against a blood sucking alien disguised as an old woman. A classic episode!)
But now Martha is promised ‘one quick trip’ through time. The Doctor takes her to Elizabethan England 1599. What they find there is most reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Macbeth! Three troublesome witches are interfering with the affairs of men, and in particular the Bard himself! They are controlling him, making him write an unannounced sequel, ‘Love’s Labours Won’. They hope to use his powerful words to bring their alien sisters through a rift in time. These ‘Carrionites’ (a word which refers to decaying flesh) are forcing his hand to pen coded words which will open the rift and allow them to wreak havoc on earth. They had previously forced the architect, now in Bedlam Asylum, to build the Globe Theatre to their 14 sided specifications!
SHAKESPEARE: Doctor, can you stop her?
DOOMFINGER: No mortal has power over me.
DOCTOR: Oh, but there’s a power in words. If I can find the right one. If I can just know you.
DOOMFINGER: None on Earth has knowledge of us.
DOCTOR:: Then it’s a good thing I’m here. Now think, think, think. Humanoid female, uses shapes and words to channel energy. Ah! Fourteen! That’s it! Fourteen!
DOCTOR [in cauldron]: The fourteen stars of the Rexel planetary configuration!
DOCTOR: Creature, I name you Carrionite!
(Doomfinger screams and vanishes in a slow flash of light.)
MARTHA: What did you do?
DOCTOR: I named her. The power of a name. That’s old magic.
MARTHA: But there’s no such thing as magic.
DOCTOR: Well, it’s just a different sort of science. You lot, you chose mathematics. Given the right string of numbers, the right equation, you can split the atom. Carrionites use words instead.
SHAKESPEARE: Use them for what?
DOCTOR: The end of the world.
Now of course the Carrionites do not succeed. Martha and the Doctor foil their plans. Shakespeare lends a hand with his powerful words:
SHAKESPEARE: Close up this din of hateful, dire decay, decomposition of your witches’ plot. You thieve my brains, consider me your toy. My doting Doctor tells me I am not!
LILITH: No! Words of power!
SHAKESPEARE: Foul Carrionite spectres, cease your show! Between the points
Ultimately the Doctor traps them in a glass ball – which interestingly makes an appearance at the end of the Agatha Christie episode (4/7). This is another story which highlights the power of words! (The Doctor has kept them hidden away in the Tardis, in a trunk labelled C: C for Christie, C for Carrionites.)
But in this adventure our parable is clearly seen in the power of a name. And this works in two ways. Firstly, by naming his Carrionite foes the Doctor disarms them. Yet they can’t name him. The Doctor’s name remains hidden and he has victory!
In some ways this is the effect of confessing our sins. When we name our specific foes (or sins, like jealousy, anger, discontent, envy) we disrupt the power they have over us! As we speak to God and seek forgiveness his power comes to defeat these enemies in our life. Imagine the further effect of naming and confessing our sins to one another?
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16
Secondly, the power of a name has the power to save. We call on our mum, our dad, the Doctor (well, his companions do) – knowing that calling on their name will bring the help we need. But the name of the True Time Lord, Jesus, is the only one that has the power to save completely those who trust in it. Jesus is the only name by which we can be saved – and we can call on His name any time, any where!
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
God has revealed the name of His promised Servant King, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. If you are have found forgiveness in Jesus you will know something of the power of Jesus’ name (read more here at my other blog). Yet I’m sure this is something it takes a whole life time (and more) to fully appreciate.
God bless you – in Jesus’ name!
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