The Weight of Glory (Sermon) by C.S. Lewis

The Weight of Glory (Sermon) by C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) is one of the most well-known Christian authors of the 20th century having written such works as the Mere Christianity, Miracles, The Problem of Pain, The Screwtape Letters, and The Chronicles of Narnia. In addition to writing, Lewis was a profession of English Literature, holding positions at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities during his career. The sermon currently being reviewed, “The Weight of Glory,” was originally delivered on Sunday, June 8, 1941 at the Oxford University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. This was nine months after the end of the Battle of Britain and in the middle of War World II. At this point in the war, Germany was actively conquering new territories in Europe while the Britain and Free French forces tried in vain to slow them down. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the United States of America was trying hard not to get pulled into the war (something that would happen six months later on December 7, 1941). This historical context is very important as Lewis delivers a sermon that ends with the statement that one’s “neighbor is the holiest object presented to [one’s] senses” (page 9). In other words, rather than demonizing the Germans or increasing the fear in the hearts of the people, Lewis sets about to remind people of the intrinsic value of humanity. He does this through by starting off talking about how we humans we typically substitute a negative term for a positive term. This tendency causes us to be “easily pleased” (page 1) with things, virtues or life’s joys rather than pushing through to...
Satanic Realism: A Real Devil or Just A Disembodied Concept of Evil?

Satanic Realism: A Real Devil or Just A Disembodied Concept of Evil?

Throughout history there have always been folks who have doubted the existence of the supernatural, whether that be God, gods, demons, or satan. The problem is that to do so is to claim that one is smarter and better than all the people currently on the planet as well as all those throughout history who have reported supernatural experiences.  And this includes people of all faiths, not just Christianity as the majority (if not all) religions acknowledge some form of the supernatural. Granted, they may differ as to how the supernatural interacts with the physical world, but it is there. Yet in spite of this, the endless march of history has created a culture in which for the first time a large portion of the population no longer recognizes the existence of the supernatural. Or, if they do, it is simply a footnote buried beneath the weight of materialism. Followers of Jesus are no exception to this modern tread. Vast portions of Christianity have removed the supernatural aspects of the Bible, claiming that the miracles recorded in the Scriptures were either literary devices designed to booster the authors message or simply the delusions of folks living in primitive times. (as a side note, this trend away from the supernatural within Christianity has always baffled me as belief in “God” is by definition a belief in a supernatural being…..) One of the difficulties in accepting the supernatural as depiction within the Bible is the existences of evil, or, more specifically, the existences of Satan and demons. This, I feel, IS the biggest challenge for folks in accepting the supernatural as...

Giving Up Control To Jesus

Public Reading: Luke 18:25-35 The Story: •    Hard teaching o    You have to love Jesus more than anything o    More than family, friends and even life itself •    This passage has two audience o    New believers need to know what they are getting into – they need to count the cost o    Current disciples – daily pick up cross and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23) •    Focus today is on the second audience o    It is about control •    Throughout history, humans have always wanted some type of control o    The act of being able to make a decision about your life o    What to eat, drink…how to dress…where to live… o    Wars have been fought over this issue… o    In the USA, we hang so tight to our “rights” that I think the rights take over and start control us… •    Control can be both a good and a bad thing o    After all the Bible clearly teaches that self-control is a good thing – Gal 5, fruits of the Spirit o    Yet control is bad in the sense that it can keep us from following Jesus. •    Jesus said in verse 27, “whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” o    Remember at this point the cross was a instrument of death o    It was not something nice to wear around your neck or post on your wall o    Jesus is telling folks that they have to die to follow him o    They must give up everything – give up control of their lives to follow Him “Those of you who do not...
It’s Messy and I Don’t Like It

It’s Messy and I Don’t Like It

Regardless of culture background or individual personalities I think one of the common factors of humanity is a desire to be in control. We want crave the desire to make choices that effect our lives and, for the most part, having a certain amount of control over what we do, think, act, goes, etc. is a GOOD thing! The opposite of having control is being out of control, which by definition, means that something or someone else is controlling you. Yet this basic urge to have control over our lives is in direct conflict with the life that Jesus is calling us all towards. St. Paul in Romans 12:1 tells us that are to “offer [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” While we may want to pretty things up a bit, in ancient days sacrifices involved the killing of an animal. So if we are to be a “living sacrifice”, that means we are to give Jesus everything (our desires, passions, jobs, family, dreams, future, etc.) as if we had died. In fact, though we are still physically alive and make look the same, when we do give Jesus everything we do “die” in the sense that the “old us” is gone and we have been made anew through the life giving grace and blood of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). In doing this, we, as followers of Jesus, take up His mission, passion, dreams, hopes, etc. (this would be the “transformed by the renewing of your mind” that St. Paul mentions in Romans 12:2 right after his “living sacrifice” comment). C.S. Lewis puts it...

Worship: The Heart of Worship

Today I wanted to post the second part of my short sermon series on worship (part one can be found here). The full audio version can be found on the PRV website along with the audio file of part three presented by Shelton Taguma from Zimbabwe. Core Values I was re-reading our core values this past week when I ran across a beautifully written statement about this: “God is eager to be known and experienced by all. We believe that God is searching for lost humanity in order to draw us into intimate relationship with Himself. In response to God’s initiative, we value the life-changing power of the experience of His presence. The primary place where that relationship is nurtured and developed is in the act of worship – both private and corporate. So, experience-based worship is the central activity of all that we do in the Vineyard. It is worship that causes all else that we do to become an act of worship. We experience God’s presence as a palpable reality when we worship. As we worship we become increasingly sensitive and response to the Spirit’s presence so that we can do as Jesus did: “See what the Father is doing,” (John 5:19) and support His work with our lives.” We are a people of the presence of God. We seek His presence as a child seeks their parents – as a calf is drawn to its mother, so we are to be drawn to the presence of the Lord. This desire to be in the presence of God affects how we worship as a community for it...