In writing through the pain of losing his wife, Lewis says that a picture is not good enough. He wants her. No resemblance or icon that approaches her likeness is enough. In the same way he says that he needs Christ and not something that resembles him and that his own ideas and images of God can provide a false construct.
“My idea of God is not a divine idea, he says in A Grief Observed. “It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of his presence? The Incarnation is the supreme example; it leaves all previous ideas of the Messiah in ruins.”
The offense is due to our expectation of what messiah-ship should look like. The world is always turning on iconoclasm; it never measures up. Lewis says that the sure thing is the grace of God, and that all else fails.
Why is it difficult throw out our previous notions and consider the offense of the Incarnation? How does suffering test this sovereign truth?
(“The Great Iconoclast” is also the title of the excerpt in A Year with C.S. Lewis, October 3)