“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”C.S. Lewis
This last week, we have heard a lot about the other great man who died 50 years ago this last Friday – and for good reason. Dallas and this area continues to struggle with having the death of John F Kennedy happen here in our backyards. Unless you exclusively listen to Pandora and watch Netflix, you cannot help but to have heard bits and pieces about the JFK assassination. It was interesting for me to hear – I wasn’t alive 50 years ago, so while it was poignant, I was not re-living any part of it.
CS Lewis also died 50 years ago last Friday. Most people know him as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia. Those of us with Anglican roots know him as that and so much more. The quote I started with is from Mere Christianity. My favorite theory of the after-life comes from The Great Divorce. He has influenced Anglican theology immeasurably and helped us all to deal with the dark side of faith with his writings on grief. I have a whole bookshelf in my office devoted to his writings.
This weekend the last of this church year. Next Sunday is Advent One – a whole new church year, a time of waiting and watching for a newborn savior, waiting and watching for the second coming of Christ, waiting and watching in the darkest and longest days of the year. The gospel reading today seems about as far away from the manger as we can get, yet we are incredibly close – just one short season away. This gospel reminds us of who Christ is for us: the one who prays forgiveness even at his own crucifixion, the one who invites us to join him in Paradise.
Our Christian faith does not call us to merely remember, study and imitate Christ, as we might JFK or CS Lewis. We are called to proclaim whom Christ is as our King, our Savior, who still moves among us, even as we wait, even as we pray for forgiveness. For what do you need to be forgiven to be saved?
As you reflect on all you will give thanks for this next week, remember these words of an ancient hymn that Paul has recorded for us in his letter to the Colossians: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers-- all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Be still then and know that He is God.
Posted very late - audio is on the PodBean on the right sidebar.