As it happens, this year, Thanksgiving Day falls on the same day as the Episcopal Church’s feast day for C.S. Lewis. We like to call Lewis the Apostle of the Imagination; the ambassador of an enchanted Christianity to a time that desperately needs to be re-enchanted.
We asked our Facebook followers to share why they are thankful for C.S. Lewis. We’ve shared a few of our favorites below, along with the prayer of the day from the lectionary:
O God of searing truth and surpassing beauty, we give you thanks for Clive Staples Lewis, whose sanctified imagination lights fires of faith in young and old alike. Surprise us also with your joy and draw us into that new and abundant life which is ours in Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
“The writings and uninhibited creativity of Lewis taught me that Jesus gives me grace to be brave and courageous in the face of fear because He is strong and sure and I always rest between his velveted paws; that His wounds always have purpose to change my dragon heart into a “Lucy heart;” that it is possible not to choose evil and maintain innocence.
He taught me that my rational mind that so loves facts and logic can be in harmony with my squishy heart of passionate faith and that the two do not have to constantly contend with one another.
I learned that as a writer there is a freedom in just allowing my imagination to soar while staying grounded in God’s Word.
I cling to the knowledge that even when I forget all the signs and stubbornly go my own way and forget to rehearse his promises, that He will make a way when there seems to be no way and will always give an opportunity to be faithful.
Finally, I learned to see every day as an adventure into a place that is higher and deeper and more real than I ever imagined. Happy St. Lewis day!”
“I'm thankful for his appreciation and use of the power of subtlety/indirectness and the power of fiction and art to communicate truth, as expressed in the letter he wrote to Carl Henry, that Mr. Lazo shared at the Oct. 14 Glen Eyrie lecture: "My thought and talent (such as they are) now flow in different, though I trust not less Christian, channels, and I do not think I am at all likely to write more directly theological pieces. The last work of that sort which I attempted had to be abandoned. If I am now good for anything it is for catching the reader unawares—thro’ fiction and symbol. I have done what I could in the way of frontal attacks, but I now feel quite sure those days are over."“
“Where some would reason with verse-by-verse explanations of Scripture and some would rely solely on life experience, Lewis had a talent for meeting somewhere in the middle. His writing simultaneously reaches the intellectual and the layperson in such a way I've never felt as though I were being preached at. Rather, reading Lewis is a bit like sitting down with a friend over a cup of tea for a meaningful conversation that can be enlightening, convicting, and refreshing.”
“When I consider notable Christians who have pursued a faith-informed intellectual life, the jovial face of C.S. Lewis immediately appears in my mind. The first of his writings that I encountered as a young student was his short yet unparalleled Screwtape Letters. Early in the book, Lewis subtly rebuts the commonly held notion that using one’s intellect poses a danger to faith. Screwtape, a demon who is giving advice to his nephew Wormwood about how to prevent a young man from becoming a Christian, admonishes him to be wary about appealing to the man’s reason. “Jargon,” he assures him, not “argument” is the best way to keep him from the Church: “The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle onto the Enemy’s own ground. By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result?”
This passage presents two insights that I believe are critical for understanding the relationship between Christianity and the life of the mind. The first is that reason is God’s domain. Just as God gave us hearts to love Him, He also gave us minds to seek and understand Him and His creation. The second is that we cannot always “foresee the result” of contemplation. The life of the mind does involve having the boldness to challenge one’s own beliefs and presuppositions, and this brings with it a certain amount of uncertainty concerning the result. But knowing that God gave us minds and calls us in His Word to contemplate Truth (Philippians 4:8) should give us the confidence not to fear the result. He promises that those who seek the Truth shall find it (Luke 11:9). At the same time, we must approach our intellectual endeavors with humility, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, knowing that we are limited creatures, and remembering that faith means believing even when we cannot find the answer to every question.”