James Bond returns in his 24th (official) adventure – taking on global snooping, an arch baddie with a cat and the evil empire wishing to use information for world domination. The 00 brigade are facing the axe as surveillance technology is on the verge of going global, and thereby doing their job for them. Without the extra expense of all those dry martinis and trashed Aston Martins. But there’s a sinister side to this threat, this isn’t just about government cuts, it’s about an arch-enemy, with a grudge to settle. Poor James always has to tackle such massive issues, perhaps next time he could be on traffic duty for a while, or do a bit of paperwork, he must have one or two forms to fill in after 53 years of derring-do.
Will Bond die? Or will he return for a 25th adventure? The superspy comes around and goes around. The threat in this film is very topical of course. We are all aware of Big Brother lurking at our elbows. Surveillance is everywhere, and most of us don’t understand how it works or what it really means. We are being watched, and it makes us jumpy. And we don’t have the option of leaping on a train, riding out into the desert and blowing up the bad guy’s lair.
But being watched is not new. The Bible assures us that God knows and understands us. All the time. ‘You know everything about me, you know my movements – when I sit and when I stand. You even know my thoughts…’ Psalm 139 v 1-2 assures us. Not even the latest technology can make that claim. But God sees and understands. And cares. He is not motivated by the need to spot the bad guys and nuke them. He is longing for a deeper connection with us, a more profound relationship. He wants to assure us that he knows us better than we know ourselves. That his surveillance can lead to life and hope, not fear and suspicion. ‘We have a High Priest, a saviour, who understands and can sympathise with our weaknesses,’ the writer of the book of Hebrews tells us. (Chapter 4 vv 14-16). And in that understanding he invites us to trust him, to move towards him, and to find help and mercy for our day to day lives. Not a big brother, but a kind father. Psalm 103: ‘The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.’ (verses 8-13)