Friday, May 27, 2011

About the Title…

I love Shakespeare's play, Macbeth. As far as art that depicts the fallen nature of humanity and our inextricable propensity toward our own self destruction there is none better. Macbeth's slide toward his ultimate demise begins when he is shown his own future by the Weird Sisters, a group of three witches, who are as much in control in the play as anyone. Once Macbeth is shown his ultimate future he fights and kills until he obtains what is rightfully (he thinks) his. Much blood is shed as he attempts to control what he has taken.

As the play is drawing to a close Macbeth is informed that his wife, and partner in crime, has died. Mourning the loss of his much loved wife, Macbeth launches into a soliloquy whose last lines make up the title of this blog:

"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Shakespeare's Macbeth recounts and illuminates for us the futility of life, the finality of life. In some sense it reminds me of the words we speak on Ash Wednesday during the imposition of the ashes, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Life, despite all of our grabbing, all of our scratching and clawing finally ends up in death.

For Macbeth this death is final. It seems, throughout the play, that this constant struggle to control our own future and direction is always on display. So this begs the question, why create a blog which finds its identity (at least partially) in a character whose ultimate end is death? The line, "It is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing." form an anti title of sorts for me.

As a pastor I see the very same tragic quality that drives Macbeth to his ultimate doom everywhere. Even in my own life. I believe, however, that we do not need to succumb to this innate desire to be our own god which leads to destruction. I believe that we find, in the ongoing story of God's love and faithfulness toward God's creation, a new way. The way of Jesus Christ, who lived, was crucified dead and buried, who rose from the dead, who ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty. This blog will interact with that great story to help guide us (me) continually toward Jesus Christ and our salvation from destruction at our own hands.

So, in the end, may the title be a reminder to you and me that without the saving power, grace and direction of Jesus Christ we are no better than tragic Macbeth. But thanks be to God, we need not end up like him!

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