The Chronicles of Narnia began with the image of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in the woods. That simple picture stuck with CS Lewis from his youth until the age of forty when he began to turn that picture into a story.
Soon came a witch on a sledge and a lion. No religious meaning was contrived for any of it, Lewis simply wanted to write a story.
But since Christianity had so thoroughly formed him (one of his friends commented that he was the most thoroughly converted man they had ever met), what flowed out of Lewis was Christ. Some people have speculated that he decided to sit down and write an allegory for children to understand the Christian message. But he states he never set out to write a religious allegory, it is what naturally bubbled up from this man who lived in Christ.
I bring up this story to encourage people to do likewise with their lives. Not everyone has a church-related ministry. In a Protestant culture that emphasizes doing something (big) for God, many people wonder what their purpose is in life or how they can Christianize their work.
It seems to me that is approaching it the wrong way. Like Lewis, we should be so thoroughly converted, so deeply in Christ, that we bring the life, joy, and peace of Christ everywhere we go. We are called to be precious vessels of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, fortunately, does not rely on our creativity – only that we commune with him and be present to every moment of every day.
By being such precious vessels, everything we touch will be Christianized, whether or not we are even aware of it – and it is my opinion that when it is authentic, we are unaware of the process taking place more often than not.
Those who create will bring beauty into the world, for Beauty himself dwells within them; those who work with people will bring peace and comfort, for the King of peace and the Comforter dwells within them; those who work with their hands will bring order and meaning into things by having the Orderer of the cosmos within them; those who raise children will do so with love, compassion, and the fear of God, for God the Father and the Theotokos dwell within their enlarged heart.
By setting out to do the work that has been given to us in life, each one of us can unconsciously bring Christ into everything we do. It is like the Midas touch that turns everything into Life. Sometimes we’ll see it unfolding and be able to shape it further, other times it will happen on its own as God works through us unawares.
Image credit: “Fall Arrives” by Elly MacKay
2 thoughts on “The Uncommon Christian Life”
Thank you Jeremiah. I was not aware that Lewis did not set out to write such an allegory. Very important lesson you drew from that. Good word!
Several literary critics wrote about Lewis’ writing methods and thought process during Lewis’ lifetime. He always found these “educated speculations” amusing to read because he said that they were wrong 100% of the time. He used that as a lesson that we should never assume we know an author’s intentions or writing process, especially when they lived long before us in a completely different culture.