The Mystery of Hope: A Response to the Tragic

Denise Ackermann


The tragic is undeniable and pervasive in our world. Our responses to it differ, ranging from despair, anger and disillusionment to hope that arises in the human spirit, despite tragic circumstances. This paper begins by looking briefly at the tragic, followed by a discussion of the elusive nature of hope that emerges in situations of suffering and adversity. The last section suggests that attempting to understand the mystery of hope in such circumstances entails embracing mystery as integral to religious experience. Finally, consideration is given to prayers of lament that name the suffering, followed by the willingness to wait in silence upon a possible encounter with the Holy One that will speak into situations otherwise inexplicable.


Tragic, Hope, Experience, Prayer, Tragies, Hoop, Ervaring, Gebed

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ISSN 2226-2385 (online); ISSN 0028-2006 (print)

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