Poirot, the legendary Belgian – not French, mind – detective is no longer. Well at least the David Suchet version is no longer. After something like twenty-five years, Suchet has played Agatha Christie’s fictional sleuth for the last time. Although giants of stage and screen like Peter Ustinov and Albert Finney had made impressive Poirots, Suchet has probably ensured that Poirot will for quite some time to come be associated with his version of the Belgian detective.
When he took on the role, Suchet decided to read all of Agatha Christie’s novels and short stories that centred around Poirot. He explained in an interview that he had written down ninety-three charcteristics of his character, and then sought meticulously to weave them into his performances. Hence the longevity of the series and the authenticity of Suchet’s performances.
There’s a scripture that says that those who follow Jesus must live as Jesus lived (1 John 2.6). Or walk as Jesus walked (King James Version). We are called to replicate the life of Jesus in our lives, our worlds. Can you imagine how authentically we would represent Jesus if we took the four gospels and studied and applied them as painstakingly as David Suchet did with Agatha Christie’s Poirot stories?
That might sound like a good idea for a rainy day. A kind of spiritual leisure activity. Or even a project for the the spiritual amateur dramatics society, if such a society existed.
But it’s much more serious than that. In fact according to Hebrews 12, immersing ourselves in the life of Jesus is the key to running successfully the race of life:
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honour, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he ploughed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Hebrews 12.2-3 MSG)
Study how He did it. Go over that story again. Item by item. That long litany of hostility He ploughed through. Why? Because that’s what stops us from growing weary and losing heart (12.3 NIV). Or as the Message puts it, it shoots adrenaline into our souls.
The story of Jesus is where you find your inspiration. Your model. Your strength. I could be doing with a bit of that. I don’t know about you.