One of the shows out in Television Land that has captured my attention is Keeping Up Appearances. The show demonstrates what people do instead of living out the Gospel. They keep up appearances.
Hyacinth, pictured above, is a woman who is all about portraying herself as the perfect person in all she does – keeping up appearances. She is a perfectionist. Everything is done to her ideals of how something should be done. Ironically, everything she does is not perfect. She is oblivious of what people really think of her. She is a person, metaphorically speaking, who wears self-imposed blinders to true reality. The creators of the show describe Hyacinth as,
Hyacinth is a flower that never wilts among the concrete, a big broad expanse of color in a staid serious world, a person with never any self-doubt, and a tireless advocate for her Queen and country. She is a devoted wife and housemaker who is always forgiving of her foes, who is never disappointed (nor does she ever accept reality), and who is an honest believer in keeping up appearances
S5, E2 (Season 5, Episode 2): The Mayor’s Fancy Dress Ball
Hyacinth suddenly has a lot on her hands: attending the Mayor’s fancy dress ball and getting to know an important new neighbor.
This episode is absolutely hilarious. Each year the Mayor of their town puts on a costume party of sorts. Every year Hyacinth and her husband (Richard) are invited but only because her Richard used to work with the Mayor (from what little I’ve seen of the show so far).
The costume Hyacinth wanted was not available and was forced to get a costume of a less distinguished person but still higher than a cavewoman. Richard was also relegated to a not so posh person. But while the costume hunt was going on, Hyacinth forces Richard on a walk around the neighborhood and more specifically a particular house whose residents are those who could be classified as elitists. They walk by this single has a total of 21 times.
Once Hyacinth and Richard get their costumes, it is time to go to the ball. On their way, their car breaks down. And as they are pushing the car, they pass by the house where the elitists live and of which the lady of the house is outside. Absolutely dumbfounded, the elitist woman makes an excuse to get away mentioning her phone (of which she was holding) was ringing.
During this whole time, Hyacinth is acting like she is not wearing less than posh clothing but still can not hide her embarrassment.
Even us Christians are guilty of keeping up appearances. What do I mean?
We deny the Gospel all the time. Have you ever made a mistake and never admitted it? “But here are all the good things I’ve done. Let’s not focus on that tiny ‘mistake’.”
The Gospel frees us to admit our sins.
But have you ever made a mistake, admitted it, yet you kept beating yourself up about it? “I made this horrible mistake! I am horrible! I’m going to quit my job and become a hermit so that I don’t do this again!!” The Gospel frees us from the guilt of our sin. Christ paid for that sin and guilt.
The Gospel still doesn’t stop there. We are also free to rejoice in our freedom! Christ not only paid for our sin by His life and death, and He not only paid for our guilt by His life and death, He also delighted to do God’s Will for us in our place. His resurrection is the proof of God the Father’s acceptance of Christ’s Person and Work on the cross. Christ did all of this so that we would not be enslaved to keeping up appearances. We are fully and completely accepted by God the Father because of Christ and our faith in Him by His Grace.
This does not make for a good television show as most people want to watch, but it is the most incredible reality we could ever experience – the very reality that a person, such as Hyacinth, never accepts. This is also a reality Christians are able to live in yet deny the very power therein.
By God’s grace, let us live in the Reality of the Gospel – every day – so that we do not have to keep up appearances.