webLike a delicate spider’s web —  

Broadchurch is a British crime series that portrays awful crimes, and their effect throughout the community. It is a well-done dramatization of the power of one sin to metastasize in the lives of both the police and the people.

The principal police detectives are often like the chorus in a Greek tragedy, commenting, declaring, and themselves struggling with depravity of the crimes they must solve:

DS Ellie Miller: Most people have a moral compass.

DI Alec Hardy: Compasses break..

Broadchurch proves an axiom

Their lives and those of journalists, parents, siblings, lawyers, a clergyman, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, students, teachers and even a judge, prove the axiom of Frederick Buechner from The Hungering Dark:

Humanity is like an enormous spider web, so that if you touch it anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling. Just as John Donne believed that any man’s death, when we are confronted by it, reminds us of our common destiny as human beings: to be born, to live, to struggle a while, and finally to die. We are all of us in it together…As we move around this world and as we act with kindness, perhaps, or with indifference, or with hostility, toward the people we meet, we too are setting the great spider web a-tremble. The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt. Our lives are linked together. 

The minister, Paul Coates, preaches this simple message throughout the production. He is a loving, intelligent man, whose humanity and faith make him a believable pastor, of a flock who wander into the church for comfort and strength – sometimes counsel. But who are never portrayed as worshipping God.

Isn’t that a picture of us?

Americans who want to know why troubles befall us, so, we go to church. In many churches, we find the reason for trouble that repels us and astounds us: Sin. And we find out what God has done about the trouble. He loved the world and gave His Son so that we might live. (John 3:16-17)

Christ Jesus crucified for our sins, and resurrected for His new creations. (Romans 4:25)

The television pastor doesn’t expound on this.

However, he is faithful to speak of God in whom he trusts, and recommends turning to him. But because so few come to worship on Sunday, or accept his counsel, the pastor burns out, and leaves. His parting words are drawn from Hebrews: don’t neglect getting together, and encouraging and loving one another – and then departs.

His parting words are true — for we are as connected as that spider’s, and as fragile, especially in the dark depressing times that are today. More than this, we need a shepherd – the Shepherd, Christ.

Now, here is where worried hurting hearts may get up and leave, the way the fictional characters did.  Before you do, please put God to the test, and put your fears and doubts to equally as hard a test. As my friend Flo Wolfe suggests:

Take some time before Easter Sunday to investigate the One called the Light of the world. And I do know that Easter falls on April Fool’s Day this year! ~ Oppressive Darkness

The best human compass fails – God doesn’t.

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