By Pastor Bob Myers
Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist in Austria who lived as a prisoner in Auschwitz in 1944 until the Nazi regime was defeated in 1945. His wife was murdered in a similar prison camp and the only family member who survived was his sister who had emigrated to Australia.
Frankl was a secular Jew and writes from a non-Christian world view, but his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, has become a classic on the need for humans to embrace a framework for a meaningful life. Controversies surrounded his accounts, including concern that he capitulated to ingratiate himself in order to survive.
From Auschwitz’s horrors, Viktor Frankl observed the necessity of having a meaning for your personal life even in the most brutal and hopeless situation. This conviction developed from his observations of other prisoners within Auschwitz. For some, death came more suddenly as a result of their despair. Others found a reason to survive in the single choice they had left, the choice that was not surrendered even in Auschwitz, the choice to not let their murderers label the purpose of their lives.
Frankl developed a list of required aspects necessary for a meaningful life, including convictions about the future, aesthetic and natural beauty found from nature, a purpose for suffering and loving other people. But while there are aspects of his book that are profoundly human and hopeful, his book left a gospel-shaped hole.
Our current sermon series was borne from reading his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” and reflecting on the book of Romans.
Everything and more than what Frankl highlighted as necessary for the survival of the human spirit can be drawn from the footings of Romans. These ingredients for meaning are either foundational to the gospel, or outgrowths and implications of the gospel. But only in the gospel do they truly sustain the weight of our quest for meaning.
Please join us each week as we survey different passages from Romans and see how it ties to living the most meaningful life possible.
The current preaching schedule for this series is:
May 4,5 Creation’s Messaging (Romans 1:18-22, Psalm 19), Bob Myers
May 11,12 Witness of Moral Conscience (Romans 2:12-16), Rob Chifokoyo
May 18,19 Receiving a Greater Purpose in Suffering (Romans 5:1-5), Bob Myers
May 25,26 Relationships (Romans 16), Peter Lyon