Monday, February 3, 2014
SHAKESPEARE AND HAMLET
Shakespearean Players, London, EN
Timothy Keller has written that “our relationship to God is more like Shakespeare’s relationship to Hamlet. How much will Hamlet know about Shakespeare? Only what Shakespeare writes about himself into the play. He goes on to reference C. S .Lewis who reasoned that “we’ll only know about God if God has written something about himself into our life, into our world. And he has”. Keller continues, “God looked into our world-the world he made-and saw us destroying ourselves and the world by turning away from him. It filled his heart with pain (Genesis 6:6). He loved us. He saw us struggling to extricate ourselves from the traps and misery we created for ourselves. And so he wrote himself in. Jesus Christ, the God-man, born in a manger, born to die on a cross for us. Behold who Jesus is, how he loves you and how he came to put the world right”.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells the story of a son who decides it’s time to cash in on his inheritance right now. He leaves his father’s land and soon squanders all the money. Saint Augustine observed that, “When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people withdraw from God.” The son finally returns home to a surprisingly forgiving father who rejoices that he is back.
Jesus relates this story to show the complexity of his Abba’s love for us. God is our Abba or eternal Father, and according to Jesus, we are his beloved children. We were created in His image and He considers you and me His children. We share many emotions. When Jesus taught us to pray The Lord’s Prayer, he started with the words, “Our Father, who art in Heaven…” and he addressed God as Father a total of 170 times in the Bible. Jesus created a new way of praying that is as natural as a child talking to his father. By creating us in his own image, God truly wanted someone to love and someone capable of returning that love.
To become more like God is humanity’s highest goal, by understanding and reflecting his characteristics. The path leads to becoming less self-centered and more God-centered.