Jill and I were at a NTlive showing of Hamlet last night in the west end of Glasgow. There was a “student buzz” on the streets around the independent Grosvenor Cinema, and we were excited to be having an evening out together. There was a sense of anticipation among the audience and a sense of anxiety among the technicians. It all worked though! We were watching in Scotland what Cumberbatch and company were doing in the Barbican in London. It was a gripping, intense production; the camera gave us the close-ups of the actors’ faces and we were transported to the rotten kingdom of Denmark.
Hamlet uttered those lines – the most famous in Shakespeare’s work – and they struck deep to my spirit. These lines expressed the feelings of a young man who was caught between life and death, being and not being; tortured by the despair of the death of his father and the betrayal of his mother. What meaning was there left in life? For moment I glimpsed something of what our son Peter had perhaps struggled with. Both stories end in tragedy.
I am trying to put a sermon together based on the first few verses of Job 38. He was close to the Hamlet crisis too – and then God answered. The answer was not an answer to Job’s question but it was God facing Job. What does Job know of the wonders of the universe?
So I am inspired – by my entering the Hamlet story last night – to resolve the meaning of life question; to be or not to be. Not with a life of violence, revenge, fear. Not by withdrawing. I will think how I can let God be God, be shaken from my complacency, my tendency to despair and seize the day.
I paid a visit to a supernumerary minister earlier this week, who pointed me in the right direction. Thanks to those people who make themselves available to us, reminding us of what really matters in life. To be. Yes, I think I can “be” again. Perhaps be born again?