C. S. Lewis, a Mind and Heart in Love with Christ

Most educated men and women know that C. S. Lewis had a mind aflame for God and Christ. His was a brilliant mind and it is thrilling to know that such a man was “on our side”, so to speak. But perhaps many of us have known some great minds, great intellects that seemed devoid of great passion, great love for people, great love for the aesthetic, even, a great love for God. In other words, we know in our experience that some people have a mind deeply committed to truth and facts (a good thing) who seem to be devoid of real passion for others or God (a bad thing).

So it was that while preparing an index for the revised and expanded edition of C. S. Lewis’s THE WEIGHT OF GLORY and OTHER ADDRESSES, I was delighted to find new and wonderful pictures of Lewis’s passionate love for God and the Gospel.

Two windows to his heart:

Walter Hooper writes the following of his experience of Lewis’s largeness of heart for people:

“Perhaps it is worth recording that I knew–I just knew–that no matter how long I lived, no matter who else I me, I should never be in the company of such a supremely good human being again. Of all my memories this is the most indelible . . .

The Weight of Glory
Introduction, xv

Second, on Lewis’s deep love for Christ and the gospel:

Lewis was invited to preach in the chapel of Mansfield College, Oxford on Pentecost Sunday on May 28, 1944. The sermon has become known as “Transposition”. Lewis ascended to the pulpit and began his sermon and all was moving forward in its natural order when in the middle of the message something extraordinary happened. Again, here is how Walter Hooper describes the moment:

“. . . in the middle of the sermon Mr. Lewis, under the stress of emotion, stopped, saying, 
‘I’m sorry,’
and left the pulpit.
Dr. Micklem, the Principal and the chaplain went to his assistance [and the inviter of Lewis]. After a hymn was sung, Mr. Lewis returned and finished his sermon . . . on a deeply moving note.”

Walter Hooper’s introduction to
The Weight of Glory, xxiii

Lewis, then 46 years old, was so moved my his subject matter, the gospel and the Christ of that gospel, that he had to compose himself on the side before continuing on. Fifteen years later, now aged 61 and just two years from leaving earth for the glories of heaven, Lewis was asked by his publisher to return to some of his shorter essays and sermons from the war years for a new and expanded edition. The occasion gave him new opportunity to expand on his original message with the wisdom of an added 15 years of reflection. That addition is recorded on pages 66 through 69 of the MacMillian 1980 paperback edition. I will let the reader discover what Lewis added and the wonder of that which brought out such emotion in the “preacher” that he had to interrupt his own message to compose himself before continuing.

For me, these two short vignettes demonstrate the united mind and heart that all Christians should pursue. Great passion for truth and great passion for people. May God help us all to marry these two passion together under the Lordship of the One we call our Savior.


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