Everything I think about Heaven I got from C. S. Lewis (3)

“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply bout that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, of burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken… Next to the blessed sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” – from The Weight Of Glory

One thing I love about Lewis’s writings about heaven is that he tries to reach out and imagine heaven in words, but what he writes does not serve to limit our idea of heaven as a fence gives shape to a field but also gives it boundaries. He stretches our imaginations toward something that is ultimately unimaginable. In this quote he is removing the ceiling from our expectations of what our neighbors glory will be like.

In order to tell the story of the gospel you have to tell the part of the story that says that we are fallen. Lewis is reminding us that that was not our origin and is not our destination. Sin is the stain on your neighbor’s clothing, it is not the skin beneath. Your neighbor fell from a great height into this present darkness and it is easy to mistake what you see when you look at him or her for something far lesser than he or she truly is. In Heaven that will not be the case. Each person is made in the image of the Maker and in Heaven that image will shine out free and clear of the sin which clouded it. Yes, we are sinners, but we were glorious before that. We were made good and right and God will make us that way again. That heritage and destiny is the most true thing about the universe and every saved person in it.That destiny should be a burden, Lewis says, that we cannot reflect on too much. We live among kings and queens.

What a paradigm shift that is. Here something true of Heaven reaches backward into this present time and changes it. If this is true then we cannot live the same way. The person across from you, Lewis says elsewhere, could one day be something that, if you were to see it now, you would be tempted to worship it. The same is true of the car in front of you in traffic. Your children. Your parents. Britney Spears. The grade school bully. Everyone. Your neighbor is the holiest object now presented to your senses.

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