I spent the afternoon yesterday contemplating Shakespeare and the evening contemplating Christ. It’s not exactly a subtle difference. One is a dead icon, the other a living Savior.
I do think Shakespeare is an icon in the scared sense of the word as well as the secular one. His works can point us toward what is Deep and Real and True. But we have to go there. And here I am in a room full of people who are willing to go pretty deep with Shakespeare, but seem to be happy doing so through Holy Week–every year–so the earnest secular icon reigns here. I had a conversation yesterday in which I was asked if I was bothered by films like 10 Thing I Hate About You that re-write Shakespeare. I answered that I believe the plays are living things that change and grow and become all the time, each performance its own work. That’s how Shakespeare lives–through his work and what we do with it.
Last summer, I was talking with a friend of Computerguy who fairly recently began to follow Christ. As we were watching kids play and feeling each other out about the faith thing, I was stammering around the subject and she looked at me and said, “but you’ve seen him [Christ] at work now, right?” My immediate answer: “Well, yeah.” That moment–and the experiences to which I was referring in my answer–are what I go back to when my rational side tries to take over. That is how Christ lives–now, present, active, in our lives.
I’m also thinking about performance aspects of the church service, especially in light of the powerful tenebrae service we attended last night, among strangers in the Old South Church, but I think that will wait for its own post