For those of you who were not able to attend my Sunday service,
a summary of the homily (inspired by Brian's Hamlet exercise) is given below.
There is a point in every man's life--and in evey woman's--it turns out that
the agency of existential crisis is firmly committed to equal opportunity!
A point in your life where you will come to a dark place.
A real dark place.
So dark, in fact, that you will question everything--
every single assumption that you've ever made about
the world, about the social order, and about your own existence.
You will come to understand in a most profound and intimate
way Shakespeare's great lines:
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them
My friends, these are thoughts most grave, because the outcome
of this contemplation is a matter of life and death. Your life.
Or your death.
Shakespeare's metaphor is beautiful here: Life as a sea of troubles.
In this sense, there's no such thing as a land lubber! We are all at sea.
And we all navigate the waters we find ourselves in.
At times, the sea is calm. And naturally, you feel strong
when you can set your own course.
At other times, the water is rough enough to where you sense some danger.
But you make it through ok, and maybe the experience makes you
feel a sense of hubris--as if you are the sea's master.
And then there are the dark times of which we speak--the time that Hamlet
finds himself in--the time where the water rises up in a ferocious
violence as if the universe itself has conspired against you.
And you will realize that you are not the master of the sea
that you thought you were. You will see yourself for what you are:
a small, scared, trembling, and completely vunerable being--vunerable to
forces completely beyond your ability not just to control,
but to even comprehend.
It's moments like these where we ask: Does life have meaning?
Is life worth living?
As Christians, of course, we are blessed with a source of strength.
We have someone on our side--a man who can tame the seas.
And the beauty of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ has the
power to tame not only the physical world, but more importantly,
he can tame the chaos and the despair and the guilt of our
As Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew : “Come to me, all you who are
weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
If we understand that message and that promise from Jesus, then our life
will always have meaning.
But it doesn't stop there, my friends. By being a witness
to the power of Christ's love, we can bring meaning to other people's
lives--people who are struggling right now and asking themselves
in the midst of a great storm: To be, or not to be.