In Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, a woman-Queen Hermione-is falsely accused of adultery by her husband, King Leontes. This sets into motion a complicated series of events including the apparent death of the Queen.
The King eventually realizes his mistake and lives in anguish and regret for years.
At the end of the play, the King is shown a statue of his wife. The likeness is amazing. Then Paulina, one of the Queen's loyal friends announces:
"It is required you do awake your faith. Then all stand still." (Act 5, Scene 3, lines 94-95). Shakespeare: The Complete Works ed. G.B. Harrison; Harcourt, Brace, & World, Inc.(New York: 1968).
The King then touches the statue and it comes to life. His beloved wife was not dead after all. He is overcome with joy. It is a moving scene.
The reader of this play can choose to interpret the events as being based on plot manipulation and magic; or as having implicit themes of faith, forgiveness, and resurrection. The Christian reader probably cannot resist pondering the latter.
The play reminds us that, as Christians, we are not bound by a narrow, hopeless rationality. We are not intimidated by the passing of time and while we love life, we do not fear death.
Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25 (ESV).
Yet neither are our hope and our faith irrational. What could be more logical than believing there is a logical conclusion to the chaos of human life? Just as mystery novels demand resolution; just as financial statements demand reconciliation; just as scientific formulas demand balancing, so do the stories of our lives demand final conclusion in the arms of almighty God.
It is necessary that we reawaken our faith, every day. And when we think we have enough faith, why, we should pray for the gift of even more. We can never be too greedy for this commodity.
In faith and fellowship,
Patrick McKitrick more...