The Gospel as Tragedy

Preparing for the lesson today I had to work to stay on topic.  It’s difficult to ponder the theme of tragedy.  It’s tempting to rush through the bad things to get to the good stuff of the Gospel.  Unfortunately, reality does not allow us to do this.  Life in this world forces us to face the fact that pain, suffering and tragedy are real and eventually will touch everyone. 
As I prepared my lesson today I thought about the funerals I have conducted this year.  It’s difficult to work with families struggling to accept the death of dreams and the unfairness of pain, suffering and death.  Platitudes are only helpful to those who give them.  For those facing the tragedy of living in a sin polluted world, the best words are often none at all.  Presence is more beneficial than filling the emptiness the words that are equally empty. 
But it is tragedy that sets up the comedy.  As we will see next week, those who don’t allow themselves to understand the tragedy miss out on the comedy.  They are like the ones who don’t get the joke and wonder why everyone finds it so funny.  So don’t be afraid to be real.  Don’t be afraid to think deeply and reflectively about the just how difficult it is to be human.   After all, Jesus didn’t pretend life wasn’t hard.  He fully embraced it and showed us how to life.  But he did more than that, he is in fact the Way, the Truth, and the Life!  He IS the way out of this mess.  And what comes next . . . . well, that’s the comedy and the fairy tale.
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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.


One Response to “The Gospel as Tragedy”

  1. I feel that tragedy has been lacking in our discussions as a church body and teaching in our prayer life. Recently a small group I’m involved with has been examining prayer. During our last meeting one of our members unleashed the majority of emotions they have been having about the “tragedy” and seemingly unfairness of the world in which we live and God’s response to it. At first I didn’t know how to take it. We always seem to only discuss the sunny side of things and rarely the dark night.

    After that meeting I prayed and read through Lamentations. This was my first experience through the book of Lamenting and it really touched my heart and soul. Tragedy is a very real aspect in our discipleship that cannot be ignored or fast-forwarded. It must be dealt with and realized. Are there always quip solutions? No. Yet we must remember to actively choice to follow God and to trust that even when the jackal’s tare upon our heart and we are blinded by our pettiness the Father has not left us. To experience joy we must experience sorrow. The sweet is not sweet without the sour.

    I always used to think that when the Church fathers told us to persevere through suffering I'd thought they meant only open suffering through persecution. But I think they also meant persevering through the dark night in which the soul travels searching for the hidden God. If we do not talk about it how can we begin to heal? And if we do not heal how can we ever begin to learn?

    Thank you for this lesson, I’ll have to borrow this book once you're done, and of course looking forward to next week!

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