Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"The Weight of Glory"

This is my favorite piece by C.S. Lewis that we’ve read so far. It reminded me of one of the best conversations I’ve ever had with my friends. It was an afternoon in the early spring and we were walking from the bakery to school. The clouds in the sky were big and billowy and white. At the beginning of our walk, they were blocking all the sun’s rays, leaving everything gray, dreary and soggy-looking under the melting snow. Then, all at once, there was a break in the cloud cover and the sun shown down in distinct beams down through the clouds, giving everything an almost golden hue. Suddenly, we couldn’t help but notice the new life everywhere – the trees were covered with buds, grass and small purple flowers were peeping out from under the blanket of snow everywhere. At that moment, I couldn’t help but think of heaven and God’s light showing down on the earth. As we walked along, we talked for a long time about what we think heaven may be like, about death and how frightening it is to think about dying, but at the same time how exciting the prospect of eternal life with God is.

Reading “The Weight of Glory” had the same feeling for me as this conversation a few years ago did. I really liked Lewis’ insights on what it means for us to stand in God’s glory. He talks about how one aspect of this will be God knowing us and the splendor of having his favor and being a source of pleasure to him. Lewis describes this experience on page five. He says, “…no one can enter heaven except as a child; and nothing is so obvious in a child – not in a conceited child, but in a good child – as its great and undisguised pleasure in being praised.” We were created to want to please God. The greatest joy we are given in life and in death is that we are pleasing to God. Lewis points out that any and every longing experienced in life is at its root, a longing for this joy, even when our longings seem to be for the very opposite of God’s favor.

I really liked the imagery of God making us to shine like the sun. We will leave the fallen and distorted state in which we exist now and pass into shalom; into the existence which God intended for us. He will make us to realize the full potential with which he created us.

I thought another important point in this essay was that we are not to become prideful or arrogant in thinking about what we will be like in God’s glory. Lewis says that it is important for us to keep in mind the image of how glorious or frightening those around us may be after death. When we keep this image in mind, it is much easier to see other individuals as image-bearers of God and to see our place as equals and not superiors to those around us. It is important that we treat those around us with the full respect of bearers of God’s image and that we at all times keep their value to God in mind.

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