Old Tales

“As organs of the Body of Christ, we are assured our eternal self-identity and shall live to remember the galaxies as an old tale.”

– C.S. Lewis, “Membership”, Weight of Glory

Lewis is probably in my top three of my most important thinkers. He just knows how to say things. He knows how to take a few words and slam the full with meaning. He has a gift.

My interest in Lewis didn’t begin until college where I had a class entitled “The Philosophical Legacy of CS Lewis”. In that class I came to grips with an answer for the problem of evil that I almost immediately embraced. I had been unconsciously looking for such a problem for many years by that point. Both my parents died within about 16 months of each other when I had just begun my teenage years. And though I still claimed to be a follower of Christ, I struggled to really grasp the nature of evil and the goodness of God. For me, Lewis’ answer became my own.

Since then, I have had a consistent diet of Lewis. My most recent meal was on his collection of essays, “Weight of Glory”. If you are a big Lewis fan, you might wonder what took me so long to get there. Well, I don’t know. But, I did and again I’m glad to have traveled that road.

In this collection of essays, too many pages to reference right now were marked up with meaningful statements. One, however, jumped right off the page.

“As organs of the Body of Christ, we are assured our eternal self-identity and shall live to remember the galaxies as an old tale.”

I was floored when I read this. The wordsmith did it again.

I read these words and I can see those times when a family sits around the table laughing and sharing stories of the distant past. My family likes to talk about one trip to the Carolinas many years ago, years before our parents died. During this trip we found ourselves outside our hotel as a family enjoying the outdoors. Well, outside the hotel was a hill. More like a mountain with a sheer face wall. Everyone in our family was making the way down the hill using feet and hands to keep balance. My oldest sister, however, felt she could walk down the hill without such precautionary measures.

She was wrong.

She started walking. Then jogging. Then into a dead run down this near sheer face wall. Mind you, she had not desire to jog down, much less run. The hill was just too steep. As she neared the bottom of the hill she noticed the hill finally finished with a rocky, gravel road, trees and then finally water. To save herself from hitting the gravel road, she threw herself onto the ground and rolled to a stop.

My mom was laughing hysterically. She was on all fours slipping her way down the hill (yes, it was so steep you’d slip with all fours on the hill). Miraculously, my sister, though now bruised and incredibly sore, broke nothing.

I can see that event as if I were there now. I was even laughing again typing this. And, when we all sit around and share stories, much like this one, even when there are painful events mentioned, somehow those painful memories are infused with joy. Have you experienced such moments?

Lewis here says we will experience moments like that when we as brothers and sisters in Christ will share stories of our past, too. Those stories may be purely joyous, or rather painful. But, the vantage point we will then have will infuse every story with joy. These stories wont just be about the old tales of Carolinian vacations. We’ll share stories, old tales, about our time in the galaxies.

Remember the time when…..yeah, 18 billion years ago! Like it was yesterday. Those were good times…

Lewis’ words speak about the finality of our pain and suffering here. My parents’ early death, those “high school heartbreaks”, miscarriage, or all the other difficulties of life will soon be transposed from pains into points of greater revelation of the glory and love of Christ. Lewis infuses our experience here with hope reminding us that as purchased people through Christ’s blood, we’ll dine with him and share stories of events long, long ago, even galaxies will be old tales.creation

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