The response to last night’s Evensong — 5 pm, first Sundays at St. David Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Shoreline — was such that I thought I might share some of it.
We paired UN MDG #2 Universal Primary Education with a commemoration of C. S. Lewis. According to the UN, something like 69 million children in Africa and SE Asia are NOT in school of any kind. Those of us who have learned to read and or watched our own children learn to read through the works of C. S. Lewis, (as well as having our faith shaped by his theological works, e.g. Mere Christianity), it seemed like a rich combination.
As is demonstrated by the tone of the quote below, both C. S. Lewis and our Evensong celebrations share a quiet, modesty, gentleness, and beauty in our efforts to write, think about and worship God. Below is the reading that we heard from the works of Lewis. Rather than some portion of the Chronicles of Narnia, it is a piece from the introduction to Mere Christianity, which subtly connects imaginary doors, such as those in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, with how we sort out and make sense of the many traditions and worldviews in which we live.
Enjoy these words from Clive Staples Lewis! And then, enjoy your own room.
A Reading From C. S. Lewis The Introduction to Mere Christianity @ http://lib.ru/LEWISCL/mere_engl.txthttp://lib.ru/LEWISCL/mere_engl.txt
“I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions-as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable.
It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.
When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping.
You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling. In plain language, the question should never be: “Do I like that kind of service?” but “Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door-keeper?”
When you have reached your own room, be kind to those Who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common of the whole house.