Scott’s Column: A Letter From the Conference Minister
February 15 2017
Recently, a friend lead a reflection at a meeting I attended and used the juxtaposition of two quotes. One was the opening of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and the other was reported to be from CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. I loved the tension between the two pieces, one written a hundred years before the supposed date of the other – 1859 and 1942. Both reflected periods of great social disturbance and war. CS Lewis was a veteran of the First World War which marked his life. Naturally, other veterans had very different responses to that war. But, CS Lewis sets The Screwtape Letters in the world in which he was writing, the movement of the world back into a time of war, the Second World War. 1942 was not a joy filled period for Britain. Dickens writes about the chaos of the French Revolution which was a horror from the perspective of the English, but, he is writing fifty years after the revolution.
The inhumanity of war was experienced differently by these two authors.
When I came home from the meeting, I tried to find the Lewis quote and could not find it. Then I went to the internet and found it attached to a piece saying that it was not actually a quote from CS Lewis.
Yikes, fake news touching me again!
But, I am thankful for the person who shared the reflection.
So, I have seemingly fruitlessly skimmed through The Screwtape Letters. My mind travelled back to other journeys with that story. Why would Lewis write a book about a faith journey told from the perspective of one committed to evil? How are we to determine when we are being misled by Lewis’ evil narrator and when Lewis is trying to lead us to truth?
This dilemma was with me as we gathered with family. Some on one side of the political spectrum and some on the other. Many conversations were avoided.
Yet, these are people I love.
Mary Pipher wrote a book she titled The Shelter of Each Other, and I wonder whether we can be shelter for each other when we are easily stirred to anger.
I find I have to take Facebook in small doses these days. Even the words of those with whom I completely agree can trigger turmoil.
“It is the worst of times, it is the best of times” it is a time for me to read again old words and be reminded that the turmoil of the world comes and goes.
Let us go gently together into the future that calls to us and trust that the One who has walked through the chaos of the past continues to walk with us.
Share the light as you are able and keep us all in your prayers.