Connecting the Human Condition to Comfort in Christ3 min read

I love serving in a Lutheran school because of the content I am able to serve. Students may wonder or whine aloud that they have nothing in common with Homer or Shakespeare. One example of what I serve my students is that Macbeth’s problems are really no different than their own:

…all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

My goal is to make sure students understand that Macbeth fails for the same reason we fail: hubris and sin. I love serving lessons that connect to our human condition and point to the comfort found only in Christ. Near the conclusion of Macbeth, we discuss Macbeth’s failure in the context of Martin Luther’s explanation to the first commandment as found in The Large Catechism:

Many a person thinks that he has God and everything in abundance when he has money and possessions. He trusts in them and boasts about them with such firmness and assurances as to care for no one… They make a deal with the devil, in order that he may give them plenty of money or help them in love affairs, preserve their cattle, restore to them lost possessions and so forth. For all such people place their heart and trust elsewhere than in the true God. They look to Him for nothing good, nor do they seek good from Him. (LC I 5, 12)

Our discussions help us grasp Macbeth’s flaw. As a Lutheran educator, I want my students to better understand the eternal consequences of what it means to place anything in front of the one, true God. That’s why serving my students literature that matters provides the perfect opportunities to teach Christ’s unconditional love.

[Tweet “Serving literature that matters provides opportunities to teach Christ’s unconditional love.”]

This Shakespearean tragedy is merely a springboard so my students understand that we are no different than Macbeth. I continue serving my students with this excerpt from The Large Catechism:

We are to trust in God alone and look to Him and expect from Him nothing but good, as from one who gives us body, life, food, drink, nourishment, health, protection, peace, and all necessaries for both temporal and eternal life. He also preserves us from all misfortune. And if any evil befall us, He delivers and rescues us.  (LC I 24)

This is the knowledge I serve my students and it’s what I want them to understand and apply to their temporal and eternal lives. I love serving in Lutheran schools because I have the blessed opportunity to serve my students God’s Word so they can sing with unrestrained joy…

“God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ! 

He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price. 

Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any 

That brought me salvation free, Lasting to eternity!” (LSB 549)

[Tweet “God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!”]

Photo (c) monkeybusinessimages/iStock

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About the Author

Dr. John Brandt is the Executive Director/Principal of Valley Lutheran High School in Saginaw

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