Thursday, December 4, 2008

I recently read a great C.S. Lewis quote in Tim Keller’s book 'The Prodigal God.' You will find the quote in the chapter entitled the “The Feast of the Father.” In this chapter Keller is making the point that salvation is experiential, material, individual, and communal. The quote is used in the section of the chapter dealing with the communal aspects of salvation and is worth the price of the book alone. The quote can be found in Lewis’ book 'The Four Loves' in an essay entitled Friendship. In the lead up to the quote Keller states, “You can’t live the Christian life without a band of Christian friends, without a family of believers in which you find a place.”

Keller further sets up the quote by describing the situation underlying the quote:

“C.S. Lewis was part of a famous circle of friends called the Inklings, which included J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, and also the author Charles Williams, who died unexpectedly.”

C.S. Lewis’ quote is a reflection on the results of the loss of his friend Charles Williams.

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald…In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall have.”

Keller sums it up:

“Lewis is saying that it took a community to know an individual. How much more would this be true of Jesus Christ?”

May God use the internet community to reach those individuals who cannot or will not attend church to find a band of Christian brothers and sisters on the internet. Better yet may God help them find a good church home to share their views in the community of believers.



travis said...

This was one of my favorite quotes from the book. I had never heard it before and it resonated with me of the need for a community context of the Gospel.

RC said...

It really does explain the need to belong to a church, a community of believers, better than I have ever heard it put before. We belong to a wonderful community of believers and are blessed. I pray that others will discover what we have.

ErikC said...

Hey, RC! Sorry I haven't been around lately. I truly believe that people should not "forsake the assembling of yourselves." I knew some Christians who thought that they could be good Christians by just reading the Bible and doing good works. It's more than that.

RC said...

Amen Erik. Good to hear from you. Is your family doing well?