Wednesday, September 13 2006
"Enemy-occupied territory--that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going." Mere Christianity
C. S. Lewis saw life in epic proportions. Perhaps that is what has drawn millions of people, including me, to read his books. Seeing our lives as part of a cosmic battle, and important to winning the war, gives us significance. And the hunger for significance is one of the greatest needs of the human soul.
The war we are involved in has to do with a clash of kingdoms. Which kingdom we choose to belong to, which king to whom we swear allegiance, makes all the difference. Will we devote ourselves to the rightful king, or to a usurper? Will we give ourselves to the sovereign who laid down his life as a servant, or to the satan who seeks to suck our lives into slavery?
World War II formed the backdrop to everything Lewis had to say about living in enemy-occupied territory. In the back of Lewis's mind was the situation in France--where French citizens could choose either to align themselves with the Vichy government, the compromisers, or they could choose to become part of the underground resistance against Hitler.
Taking this background and applying it by analogy to the spiritual life, Lewis makes exciting what often seems mundane to us. For to be part of the underground resistance in a spiritual sense involves just such seemingly ordinary activities as going to church, reading the Bible and praying. Yet each of these activities really does have cosmic significance. For by praying, Bible reading and engagement in the corporate worship of the church we are entering into communication, not simply with other underground resistors in the cosmic battle against the enemy, but with the rightful king himself--the king of the universe. And what could be more significant than that?
I for one want to be part of that underground resistance movement Lewis wrote about. I want to align myself with other resistors against the great satan, not only in my own time and locale, but across all time and space--the communion of saints. I want to devote myself to the service of the rightful king, just as the early church did, through the daily, dogged engagement in the sometimes seemingly mundane exercise of the means of grace. For as we read in Acts 2:42, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." The reason I want to live such a life of devotion is because it really is the only life of significance.
How about you? Will you devote yourself to the rightful king through prayer, study, worship and service? If so, perhaps you might make this your prayer for today--
"O Father, light up the small duties of this day's life. May they shine with the beauty of Thy countenance. May we believe that glory may dwell in the commonest task of every day. Amen." St. Augustine 354-430