Nicholas Lash on tragedy and Christian hope

Bethlehem, the city of Ruth, and Micah, and Jesus, is not far from Gethsemane. In that child’s birth at Bethlehem are ‘represented’ the wastelands of human tragedy, of human history as ‘stillborn.’ And, in that birth, these wastelands are depicted as pregnant with promise. Christian hope is an eminently practical matter: it is, we might say, a matter of transforming tragedy into pregnancy. Surrounded as we are, and as he was, by darkness, we cannot predict the outcome or depict its features. But we can, perhaps, learn to think, and act, and suffer, in trust conformable with the grace of him who alone can make the barren woman fruitful; of him who alone can make our Calvary the birthplace of his peace.

from “Bethlehem and Gethsemane,” in Seeing in the Dark, (Darton, Longman & Todd, 2005), 98.

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