C.S. Lewis on How Friendship Reveals Christ

Friends Helping a Friend Cross the Line in a Race
Friends Helping a Friend Cross the Line in a Race

Friday is for Thinking

Yesterday, I read a quote from THE REFORMED PARISHIONER that showed the genius and insight of C.S. Lewis in a new way. The author was summing up an observation from Tim Keller’s book, The Prodigal God (highly recommended).

C.S. Lewis’ quote is a reflection on the results of the loss of his friend Charles Williams.

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald…In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall have.”

Keller sums it up:

“Lewis is saying that it took a community to know an individual. How much more would this be true of Jesus Christ?”

This is what should inspire us to be engaged with other Christians, with all of their foibles (and ours too) and problems. We need one another to fully see Christ. This is why we need to be involved in what I refer to as “burden-bearing fellowship” with one another. When we buy too deeply into the America stream of individuality and privacy we cut ourselves off from the opportunity to know Christ better.

This is certainly part of what Jesus implies when he says in Matthew 25:40: (cf. vss. 34-40)

 ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

We gain greater visions of Christ as we serve one another and the needs of those around us, particularly the poor and oppressed. So let’s be found building friendships with one another. Let’s be found stepping out of endless TV watching and entertainment-pursuing lifestyles and become engaged in the messy pursuit of love of imperfect people made in the image and likeness of God–a God who took on flesh and died for sin so that reconciliation between God and man and man with man could take place.

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