Clive Staples Lewis. There are a host of his books which I could recommend to you, but perhaps the more famous are the Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, and The Screwtape Letters – although this list would likely start a considerable debate amongst those who have enjoyed his writings over the past fifty years. He was great friends with J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He died on the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
One of the more remarkable facts about his life is that at age 15 he boldly declared himself to be an atheist, yet I think he was disappointed to be so, for he said he was “very angry with God for not existing.” However, he eventually returned to the Christian faith, but as he states, he did so, “kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape.” Perhaps this is what makes him one of the great Anglican theologians. He did not simply take what he heard of the biblical truth at face value, but compelled himself to dig deeply into the truth and only then discovered that truth for himself.
How does such deep thinking work itself out? Today in our Gospel reading we hear of Jesus speaking to us of the Holy Spirit. For many, the Holy Spirit remains a mysterious aspect of the Godhead, but Lewis through his thoughtfulness not only discerned a truth about the Holy Spirit, but through his imagination was able to share those thoughts with the rest of the world in a language that all can grasp. He wrote in his book Mere Christianity:
“In Christianity God is not a static thing – not even a person – but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance. The union between the Father and the Son is such a live concrete thing that this union itself is also a Person. I know this is almost inconceivable, but look at it thus. You know that among human beings, when they get together in a family, or a club, or a trade union, people talk about the ‘spirit’ of that family, club, or trade union. The talk about its ‘spirit’ because the individual members, when they are together, do really develop particular ways of talking and behaving which they would not have if they were apart (this corporate behavior may, of course, be either better or worse than their private behavior). It is as if a sort of communal personality came into existence. Of course, it is not a real person: it is only rather like a person. But that is just one of the differences between God and us. What grows out of the joint life of the Father and Son is a real Person, this Person is in fact the Third of the three Persons who are God.”
That may still sound as clear as mud for some, but in Lewis’ writings, whether in children’s stories or Christian apologetics, we find one who is able take the most difficult of theological subjects and make it approachable to many.
In our Gospel reading today Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” We can give thanks for C.S. Lewis for it is clear that the Spirit of truth worked in him and not only guided him into truth, but through his work guides us and many others as well.