From the chair:
“11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
God’s grace has appeared, is training us to be his people, and will appear in glory–that is not just my hope and joy for me but our hope and joy for us: God’s people.
“Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.
Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me!”
-Laertes, Hamlet, V,2,3985
The characters in Hamlet express some strange soteriology, focused on what one is doing when one dies, whether one is confessed, and suggesting “mortal” sins. Some of that may well be at work here in Laertes’ dying words. However, there’s also also a brief sun break of hope, even amongst the wreckage of death in Act V. “Exchange forgiveness with me.” We will forever be caught in cycles of blame and arrogance, violence and retaliation, war and atrocity, until we learn to say these words more deeply and more often than we have thus far.
Thankfully, in Christ, God himself has broken in and started a new cycle: “as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:13).
P.S. If there are any remaining broadcasts of Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet at a theater in your area, I recommend it! I’d never seen it before, but the case brought the 400-year-old lines to life for me, and it made me want to see more Shakespeare. http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/ntlout10-hamlet
“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.