C. S. Lewis, best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, was also one of the most profound thinkers of twentieth century Christianity. Along with J. R. R. Tolkien, he has inspired millions of people, include all of the authors at Lantern Hollow Press. On Sundays we would like to take a moment to offer up a little Lewis for your consideration.
I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!
–Jewel the Unicorn, The Last Battle
It is amazing how much of the human experience (and the promise of Christianity) is summed up in these few words. It encapsulates both the finite, mortal nature of humanity, and it screams out the promise offered to those to whom Christ will one day say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
To nearly everyone who has taken the time to think about it, the experience of life is summed up by constant motion and perpetual change. As each moment fades imperceptibly into the next, we learn that nothing remains the same for long. Bound by the law of entropy as surely as the smallest particle of physical reality, our lives can go only one of two directions: forward or backward. We either grow and blossom into something new and different or we degenerate into wasted potential. In it’s ideal form, the Christian life is a perfect picture of this. There are always new trails to explore, new knowledge to acquire, new experiences to have, and each is unique from the last.
The problem is that everything in the universe tends toward decay. In fact, we have to pursue constant and intentional forward motion to prevent it. The older I get, the more apparent this becomes as my body slows down and begins the tiring process of degeneration. It is also clear in the lives of anyone who, for one reason for another, cannot or does not attempt to better themselves. To stand still is the surest way to see ourselves slump into sloth, destitution, disease, and want.
Worse, we are born into a reality where this is a losing battle from the very beginning. From the moment our first cries echo through a harsh, cold world, we are living on borrowed time. When we are young, we tend not to notice, but as we age the truth becomes inescapable; we say with Frodo (though for very different reasons), “Will I ever look down into that valley again?” Will I ever hold my loved one in my arms again? Will this be the last time I cuddle on the couch with my child before she is “too old” for that sort of thing? How much longer can I perform at this level? The end, of course, comes eventually. We die, our bodies broken and wracked with pain, our treasured experiences spent, and the world moves on without us giving hardly a blink.
And that leads us to one of the truly amazing promises upon which Christians stand: Our story, short as it is, is not over with death. We will be translated into a new world that has no end. There will be time to truly understand, to experience, to love, to build, to create…and we will do so basking in the light of the One “by whom all things were made” and the One who loves us enough that He suffered and died to ensure that we have the chance to experience mortal life and what lies beyond it.
Further up and further in, indeed!
Click here for the entire run of “Meditations with C. S. Lewis” so far.