Saturday, November 14, 2009

"The Weight of Glory"

Dear Friends and Family,

It was recently suggested to me by a friend that I read a sermon by C.S. Lewis called the "Weight of Glory". (Google it by name and you will find a PDF version you can download.)

Some of you have probably read the article before, and many have likely heard quotes from it like this one:

". . . it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

In his sermon, Lewis explores more deeply this notion of our longings and how they connect to what God truly has in store for us "in Christ". He dispels the misconception that we, as Christians, should not desire reward from the Lord just because it seems, at first glance, to be mercenary or self-serving. In its truest sense, our deepest desire is to be noticed and approved by our Creator - the knower and lover of our souls. I really like Lewis' description of "being noticed by our Lord"; it reminds me of the gospel story we read our children in Sunday school about the little man named Zacchaeus climbing up in the tree to see Jesus. He was noticed by our Lord and called down and asked to dine with the Savior. (Luke 19:2) If we are honest, much our misguided earthly pursuits bely an underlying desire to be noticed and approved by our Lord just like this little man.

I have spoken with many friends recently about a deep motivation we should all have to hear "well done, good and faithful servant" from our Lord himself. (Matthew 25:23) I believe that the most important arc of our lives should lead us to that point, providing us a proper perspective on all the time-bound moments in between. We must remember that we will stand in Christ's presence only because his grace has smiled upon us through his inestimable sacrifice on our behalf, but we must also know that what we do with our lives in this realm really does matter to him.

Lewis also speaks of glory not only as being approved by ("being famous with") the Lord, but he also speaks of the notion that glory connotes light or luminescence. He captures our desires this way: "We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words,- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it." It seems clear to me that this desire for union with light and beauty is being fulfilled by our union with Christ through his indwelling Spirit and the hope that we will one day be like him in our glorified bodies.

All this talk of longing, approval, beauty and light causes Lewis to consider a practical application that is worth appropriating in our lives today and each day.

"It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight , or burden of my neighbour's glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only a nightmare."

We should pray then not only to hear "well done, good and faithful servant" for ourselves, but encourage and help others to lives their lives toward that same end, seeing and loving them today with a view from that Great Day before our Lord Jesus.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1,2)

In Christ alone,


1 comment:

  1. Hi Newt, you have been in my thoughts and prayers. Please send me your contact information when you have a moment. Big hugs to you, Denice Torres -