Thursday, November 21, 2013
Remembering CS Lewis
The fiftieth anniversary of his death (tomorrow) might be overshadowed in the same way the news of his death was - by the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) - it feels right to mark CS Lewis in some way, giving thanks for his writings.
It seems that CS Lewis has been a gentle voice in my ear since early childhood, when first I began my travels in Narnia through The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The seven Chronicles of Narnia were quickly consumed, well, almost all seven - I can remember struggling in The Last Battle and giving up the first time of reading it. But it soon became a great refuge in which to delight time and time again. The stories draw you in, the grandfatherly narrator telling the stories and giving all sorts of comments along the way. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy; Polly and Digory, Caspian, Aslan and so many more became favoured friends. I still try to read or listen to every book every year - with The Magician's Nephew currently playing any time I'm driving in my car.
CS Lewis, Jack, as he was known, is so much more than Narnia, even if it's where most people first encounter him. While I haven't read his Perelandra trilogy, his writings on theology are always challenging, pleasantly refreshing, and give a delight when reading his prose. 'Miracles' presents an enquiry into whether miracles could really happen, with a resounding and satisfying philosophical answer. His collections of shorter writings are varied and interesting, and it was in one of those that I got a moment of great satisfaction at the end of my first year exams.
Having struggled all year with the academic theology we were presented with at our college, it gave me pleasure to quote CS Lewis' essay on 'Ferd-seed and Elephants' - on how some academic theologians could see the fernseed details in the text while missing the great elephant standing in the grass. I think it even got me marked up, for having a go and presenting my own thoughts!
CS Lewis, we salute you, and honour you by continuing to read your writings. My adventures in Narnia are only just beginning, as we look beyond the title page towards the story which grows and grows, which you already enjoy.