Wednesday, October 08, 2014

C.S. Lewis: The Great Divorce & The Weight of Glory

Lewis's friend, Owen Barfield once said that what C. S. Lewis thought about everything was present in what he said about anything. For this reason, it is easy to see parallels throughout his writings. Some of the ideas he fleshes out in essay/sermon form in "The Weight of Glory" he explores in his fiction book, The Great Divorce. He is talking about the divorce, or the chasm, between heaven and hell. I usually describe it as a book about heaven, or at least a book which gives us more of Lewis's vision of heaven.

Remember the quote from The Weight of Glory about how the beauty we love is not the books or the music themselves? And if we mistake them for the thing itself "they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers."

In The Great Divorce, Lewis writes:
Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells, to the love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him.” 
Sound familiar?

And in yesterday's post I talked about the desire we have to enter into the Beauty. In The Great Divorce, Lewis imagines heaven as a place where one can experience Beauty, Goodness, Love and Truth, as concrete realities instead of abstractions. A guide in heaven says, "I will bring you where you can taste it [Truth] like honey and be embraced by it as by a bridegroom. Your thirst shall be quenched." - C. S. Lewis

Lewis referred to our experience on earth now as "The Shadowlands", because they are like shadows compared to God, the source of all reality, and Christ, in whom all things are held together.
"Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly." ― C.S. Lewis
When the people in The Great Divorce first enter heaven, they are like shadows and the grass hurts their feet:
Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?” ― C.S. Lewis
The invitation is for us as well. Oh, it will hurt at first, until our feet are hardened, but it will be so worth it when we can fully experience the love of Christ and see him face to face.

Caedmon's Call wrote a beautiful song full of allusions to The Great Divorce and "The Weight of Glory". I will leave you with some of those lyrics and a way to listen to the song on YouTube.
And the weight of glory, if you held it in your hand
It would pass right through you, so now's your chance.
Would you fall to pieces? Would you fall to pieces?
Would you fall to pieces in the high countries?"
 - Caedmons Call, "High Countries"


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 and The Weight of Glory

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