Tuesday, October 07, 2014

C. S. Lewis: What is "The Weight of Glory"?

About halfway through "The Weight of Glory", Lewis gets around to addressing the concept of "glory". He talks about how at first he thinks of glory as "fame" or "luminosity". But that strikes him as odd because desire for fame would not seem godly. As for luminosity, Lewis says “who wishes to become a kind of living electric light bulb?” (He cracks me up!)

Then he reminds us of the words of Jesus in the parable in Matthew, “Well done, good and faithful servant…” How we long to hear those words one day! And think how much children love the praise of their parents and teachers and other adults. If we are honest, I don't think we grow out of this. We all love to hear when we've done a good job. So Lewis is saying that one aspect of glory is "fame" with God, or recognition by God:
“And that is enough to raise your thoughts to what may happen when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope and nearly beyond belief, learns at last that she has pleased Him whom she was created to please. There will be no room for vanity then. She will be free from the miserable illusion that it is her doing. With no taint of what we should now call self-approval she will most innocently rejoice in the thing that God has made her to be, and the moment which heals her old inferiority complex forever will also drown her pride... Perfect humility dispenses with modesty. If God is satisfied with the work, the work may be satisfied with itself.” - C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
So what is “the weight of glory”?
To please God, to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness, to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son - it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.” - C. S. Lewis

Going back to the discussion of our deep, spiritual longings, Lewis writes:
"We usually notice it just as the moment of vision dies away, as the music ends, or as the landscape loses the celestial light… For a few minutes we have had the illusion of belonging to that world. Now we wake to find that it is no such thing. We have been mere spectators. Beauty has smiled, but not to welcome us; her face was turned in our direction, but not to see us. We have not been accepted, welcomed, or taken into the dance. [...] The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. And surely, from this point of view, the promise of glory, in the sense described, becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.” - C. S. Lewis
Lewis says our lifelong longing to be reunited with something we feel cut off from is the truest index of our real situation. "And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.”

I am enamored with the idea that we want more than to just see beauty, we want to enter into it, and become part of it!
We do not want merely to see beauty... we want something else which can hardly be put into words- 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. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses, and nymphs and elves.” - C. S. Lewis
And best of all:
“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 splendors we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get in.” - C. S. Lewis
Someday we will be able to enter into the full beauty of Christ, and our hearts will ache no more.
On the day we hear God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." the joy will be unsurpassed by anything we can imagine. Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus!


In response to the 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be posting every day in October. You can read previous posts HERE. Follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter to be notified of new posts. You can also Subscribe to get posts sent to you by email. (There is a simple form towards the top on the right where you can do this.)

Feel free to comment with your own thoughts and questions!

Index of Posts:
Day 1: 31 Days of C. S. Lewis (Introduction)
Day 2. C. S. Lewis on Longing (In "The Weight of Glory")
Day 3. C. S. Lewis on Sehnsucht (Longing and Desire in The Weight of Glory)
Day 4. C. S. Lewis Audio Recordings
Day 5: C. S. Lewis Online Resources
Day 6: C. S. Lewis: The Intolerable Compliment (The Problem of Pain)
Day 7: C. S. Lewis: What is "The Weight of Glory"?
Day 8: C. S. Lewis: The Great Divorce & The Weight of Glory

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