In relation to our want of heaven and abandoning the earthly rewards that we once ran after, Lewis writes that it probably will not happen in a day. Rather, he says, “poetry replaces grammar, gospel replaces law, longing transforms obedience, as gradually as the tide lifts a grounded ship.”
He discusses this in “The Weight of Glory”. Weight, or gravity, is undeniable. By definition it’s the invisible force that brings one mass together with another. Yet, I can jump in defiance of its power, while the oceans are kept at bay. Even more, as Christians we know that the weight of glory unravels our soul from our body when we die. Lewis says this eternity-bound reality is due to our creation. We are made for heaven because our creator made us for him, not to be forever grounded and attached to Earth, not for our own pleasures or freedoms or personhood.
If we know we are made for heaven, how then should we live? More specifically, how do we live among the walking dead? We know human consumption should be on the Word of God, not bread alone. We understand human affection finds completion in the worship of God, not in the romance of another (or in ourselves). We realize human identity is found, male and female, in Christ alone, not in our own bodies and sense of self. We read that all this sounds like foolishness to the wise because God’s truth is a tool to shame such smugness. However, do we believe it? Is heaven’s pull drawing us further up and further in, to use a Lewisian phrase?
“All our modern philosophies have been devised to convince us that the good man is to be found on this earth,” says Lewis. “And yet it is a remarkable thing that such philosophies of Progress or Creative Evolution themselves bear reluctant witness to the truth that our real goal is elsewhere.”
His point is clearly seen and heard today. “Make your heaven on earth,” culture says to us, or “Chase your dream,” or “Recycle because the planet needs it.” All of these are subservient to gravity. It pushes us into the faulty footing that we are in the center of existence, responsible for keeping it and keeping the world afloat.
It’s just not the Gospel.
What say you, as you stare into your glowing rectangle, tangled up in your growing cyborg existence? Did Lewis miss something? Is it about being patient so science can even make our individual deaths accidental and a true heaven will be provided?
Step back. Jump. Lewis reminds us that it’s not all about us. God created out of his pleasure, not for our pleasure. Yes, the beat of creation and beauty is a rhythm we are invited to join, and as we do, we share in the longing all creation feels, “Come, Lord Jesus.” The hymn published by Albert E. Brumley, a few years after Lewis’s death (so he wouldn’t know it) says,
This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
Let us sojourner together.