â€œI have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!â€â€• C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
Fifty years ago a not-so-quiet man whose friends called him Jack slipped quietly from his home near Cambridge, England, into his Real Home and found True Joy. While most of the world, certainly the United States, were mourning the violent death of another Jack, Clive Staples Lewis had died about an hour before Kennedy and gone through “a door out of a little, dark room (that’s all the life we have known before it) into a great, real place where the true sun shines and we shall meet.” (Till We Have Faces)
And today, fifty years after his death, a memorial will be dedicated to Lewis in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey. Others are celebrating all month and on through the end of the year, not his death but his life and work and legacy. On Pinterest, 50 Fans, 50 Years Later quotes authors and other who laud the influence of C.S. Lewis. And this post at the C.S. Lewis blog collects links to news articles celebrating the legacy of Lewis.
“Comparisons are odious,” said the philosopher, but they are inevitable. I venture to guess that Lewis’s influence and legacy will last a lot longer than that of a certain U.S. president. No disrespect intended to the other Jack, but how many people has God used to such great effect for His kingdom as He has used C.S. Lewis, that reluctant convert?
“You must picture me alone in that room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England” (Surprised By Joy, ch. 14, p. 266).
Till we all—Jack Kennedy, “Jack” Lewis, and the rest of us, reluctant to face a holy but loving God–till all of us “have faces”, may the grace of God sustain us until we are surprised by the joy of His presence.