Saturday, November 30, 2013

From Buddhist meditation to C.S. Lewis' The Hideous Strength: Advent 1

The wonderful time of thankfulness celebrated by families and friends feasting together has ended. Reading the Presbyterian News Service during this Thanksgiving I was troubled by an article, “Food Justice Meditation, placed in the side box by the Presbyterian Hunger Program. It is an article about thanking others for what we have received.

It wasn't that I did not want to thank anyone, rather I was troubled over the author's push towards Buddhist meditation, even offering a link to her Buddhist meditation teacher's site. I felt sad that the author was not lifting up meditation on God's word as a means of loving others including God's creation. Listening to his word is after all what Jesus calls the “good part,” and the only “necessary” act for his followers.(Luke 10:42)

Now it is the season of Advent. As we sit at his feet waiting and listening may we be open and worshipful, receiving with grateful welcome his first coming—his incarnation. And may we be eagerly waiting for Jesus' second coming when he shall bring to the fulness the business of his kingdom welcoming his children.

Thinking of Christ's coming, C.S. Lewis also uses a Chinese philosophical and religious idea, he looks back to the French revolution with its goddess Reason and he reminds his readers of the myths of King Arthur—but he is pointing the reader toward Jesus Christ who fulfills all righteous metaphors in ways that the subjects, not even Arthur, can fulfill. Lewis does not offer religious technology but faithful metaphor.

 He writes, “When Logres [Arthur’s kingdom] really dominates Britain, when the goddess Reason, the divine clearness, is really enthroned in France, when the order of Heaven is really followed in China—why, then it will be spring.”  This is the Christian's hope which is centered in Christ and his word. “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven ...”

The quote is from Lewis' The Hideous Strength, which also, in a wonderful way, depicts a conversion pointedly placing a new member in the house of Ransom. June who has found joy because of Ransom who is a metaphor of Christ expresses her joy:
She saw from the windows of the train the outlined beams of sunlight pouring over stubble or burnished woods and felt that they were like the notes of a trumpet. Her eyes rested on the rabbits and cows as they flitted by and she embraced them in heart with merry, holiday love. She delighted in the occasional speech of the one wizened old man who shared her compartment and saw, as never before, the beauty of his shrewd and sunny old mind, sweet as a nut and English as a chalk down. She reflected with surprise how long it had been since music had played any part in her life, and resolved to listen to many chorales by Bach on the gramophone that evening. Or else—perhaps—she would read a great many Shakespeare sonnets. She rejoiced also in her hunger and thirst and decided that she would make herself buttered toast for tea—a great deal of buttered toast.

 It is because of Jesus that we love all that we are given and have the hope of his coming. Not a Christmas song for this but a reminder that as sinners we need Jesus:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I felt almost physically sick when I read that article. I mean, really? This is what we have come to, promoting Buddhism on our denominational website? Do we respect any boundaries or the integrity of our faith at all anymore??

In sadness,

John Erthein
DeFuniak Springs, FL