“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, May 23, 2008

Whispers of Eternity: The Weight of Glory

Lewis describes this great coming glory:

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, 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” (p. 26).

“At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in” (p. 43).

“What would it be to taste at the fountainhead that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy” (p. 44),
and that fountain is God. “We are to shine as the sun, we are to be given the Morning Star” (p. 42). Lewis describes our desire “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” (p. 42), and this is what awaits us in the presence of God. God alone can quench this thirst and satisfy our deepest desires. This is the weight of glory – to know and be known, to love and be loved by our Maker, to experience the joy of being drawn into the love of the Trinity (Psalm 27:4). We will find that only in pleasing and honoring our Maker can we find lasting joy and satisfaction for the heart’s great desire. This is who we were made to be – sons and daughters of God.

As the author of Ecclesiastes wrote, nothing in this life will ultimately satisfy us, and if we restrict our hope to contentment here and now, we will be terribly disappointed. We can, though, find contentment, hope, and joy in the midst of a fallen world by remembering the glory that awaits us (Romans 8:18). Even in this life God offers a foretaste of glory by making himself known in Christ. Upon us shines “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Heaven itself is only a moment away in the grand scheme of things.

Lewis’s practical conclusion to all this is also worth noting:
“It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously” (p. 46).

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