September 7, 2015
A God of Joy!
In August of 1963, due to his ailing health and increasing responsibilities, C.S. Lewis announced his retirement from Cambridge University. His stepson Douglas Gresham and friend Walter Hooper were sent to the university to sort out his affairs and bring home more than 2,000 books that lined the walls of his Magdalene College office. Knowing that Lewis’ house was already filled to its bursting point with books, the pair wondered where they would find the space to put them. But when they arrived, they discovered that Lewis had already contrived an intricate plan for their use.
A nurse named Alec had been hired to stay up nights with Lewis in case he needed assistance. As Gresham and Hooper returned with the enormous load of books, Alec lay asleep in his room on the ground floor. When the truck pulled into the driveway, Lewis appeared, cautioning the men to silence.
"Where will we store the books?" Hooper whispered. Lewis responded with a wink. At his direction, the three men quietly sneaked into Alec’s room, carrying stacks of books with tedious concern so as not to wake the sleeping victim. They piled the works around the nurse's bed, sealing him in a cocoon of manuscript and literature. When they were finished, the books were stacked nearly to the ceiling, filling every square inch of the room where the snoring nurse still slept.
The anxious culprits waited impatiently outside the bedroom door. Finally, Alec awoke. From within the insulated tomb came sounds, first of bellowing, and finally of the tumbling of the great literary wall. Eventually, an amused nurse emerged from within the wreckage.
Lewis teaches us that Christianity is a religion with room—and reason—for laughter.
Near the end of one of his most remarkable lectures, in which he spoke hauntingly of the glory of the God, Lewis added, "This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously."
The Father has made us for joy, sending his Son so that we might know what that very word means. Indeed, let us know Him, and in Him, may we have a life of joy.
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