Monday, March 9, 2009

The Weight of Glory

The perceptive among you may have noticed that I re-captioned the photos of my family and added some new ones. If you are wondering why I gave the pictures the captions I did, here's the reason...

As many of you no doubt are aware, I am a devoted fan of C. S. Lewis. He writes with a lucidity and intelligence that I only wish for. Two of the scenes that never fail to touch me emotionally in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (both in the book and the movie version) is the coronation scene at the end, where the children are given their throne names (King Edmund, the Just, etc.), and the scene where Peter is knighted (Sir Peter Wolfsbane). Aslan gives the children names that are based not much on what they have done, but based on how he sees them, which is in some deep way more accurate than than either the childrens' own self-perception, or the external view of them that others may have. After all, Peter does not kill the wolf through an abundance of skill or swordsmanship, but more through what might be called "luck" (grace?) than anything else. And yet just after that, Peter leads the army into battle as commanding general against overwhelming odds. And who really knows what sort of rulers the children will make before they have even ruled? It must be said, only Aslan. And so Aslan gives them names into which they grow.

It occurs to me that the same thing is the case with us. God justifies us despite our sinfulness, and from then on views us as higher and better than we might otherwise see ourselves. Revelation says that the "overcomer" will receive a "white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it" (v. 2:17). Perhaps this is our "throne name," which was given to us by God at the moment of our justifiation and into which we have somehow grown as we matured in Christ? I wonder, what will my name be? What will yours? What if we treated one another with the recognition of who we shall be, rather than who we are today?
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and godesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other toward one or other of these destinations...There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. --C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

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