Monday, March 5, 2012

C.S. Lewis: Near the Journey’s End – XVI

On October 26, 1963 Lewis writes to Jane Douglass:

“I too hope that moderate health will remain to me so that I shall be able to go on writing and do all the things I’ve wanted to do, but been too busy to tackle…I’m encouraged by my doctor’s latest report; he tells me he is quite satisfied with my condition.”

Also on October 26 Lewis writes to Ruth Broady:

“Many thanks for your kind letter, and it was very good of you to write and tell me that you like my books; and what a very good letter you write for your age!

“If you continue to love Jesus, nothing much can go wrong with you, and I hope you may always do so. I’m so thankful that you realized [the] ‘hidden story’ in the Narnian books. It is odd, children nearly always do, grown ups hardly ever.”

[All excerpts are from The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, 3Volumes, Walter Hopper, editor. Harper San Francisco.]

I include the letter to Jane Douglass because it shows Lewis’s understanding of his medical condition; he is encouraged…he doesn’t know he has less than a month to live.

As I’ve written previously, I love Lewis’s letters to children, hence the letter to Ruth Broady. Here is this world-renown thinker and writer, able to engage the finest minds of his day, writing gently to children. What joy it must have given him seeing children recognizing who Aslan really is, how it must have warmed his heart.

“If you continue to love Jesus, nothing much can go wrong with you…” This is discipleship in a nutshell, and it is parenting and pastoring and the core of koinonia condensed to its “ground” and foundation – love Jesus. The professing church needs this admonition – love Jesus.

As a pastor I’ve said to parents over and over again, “Teach your children to love Jesus.” As a brother in Christ I want to say to my brothers and sisters, “Teach your children to love Jesus. Teach your teenagers to love Jesus. Demonstrate a joyful love for Jesus in your marriages so that your family will see love for Jesus.”

I love the Narniad for many reasons; one reason is that Jesus is the never-changing focus – the appearing of Aslan is the “Ah ha!” moment of every book. Adults may not see this just as they don’t see this in the Bible or in daily life. We talk about politics or economics or sports or business or self-improvement or music or church growth or world events; it seems we talk about everything and everyone but Jesus. How can this be? The Early Church told the story of Jesus, it shared the Good News of Jesus – it was so in love with Jesus that it couldn’t help telling others, even in the midst of severe opposition.

Lately I’ve been writing about language on this blog, about purity versus profanity; we’d have a lot less profanity if we loved Jesus, a lot less spin, a lot less passivity. How can one be profane, deceptive, or passive in language and in life if one loves Jesus?

How is this for an epithet? “C.S. Lewis – he taught children to love Jesus.”

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