Clive Staples Lewis was a celebrated Anglo-Irish novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, lay theologian and Christian apologist whose impact and influence lives on.

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Jack's Heavenly GPS

October 13th, 2008 | Skip to comments

I learned from speaking in Ft Collins, CO, last week that people have a hunger for heaven. They may not know that–and perhaps call it something else. But just as Jack suggested in his sermon, “The Weight of Glory,” people cannot quite be educated out of their deep longing for the real, the permanent, and the glorious.

The testimony of dozens of folks who came to talk to me between sessions of my seminar was that Jack–and the fellowship that discussion of his work and seminars like mine create–helps them name the longing and embrace the source of that longing, the lighted pathway to the “true country” that he identifies in the “Hope” chapter of Mere Christianity:

“Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.”

Ours is the story of three worlds:

  • The world we left behind in shame, Eden
  • The world we occupy in struggle and doubt and turmoil, Earth
  • The world that impinges in fleeting glimpses of wonder, glory, and joy, Heaven

Jack helps us understand all three, and he does so by his winsome exposition of the story of the fall, our rescue and redemption, and the coming weight of glory in which “the pure in heart shall see God, because they are the only ones who want to. . .”

Peter Kreeft calls this the “argument from desire,” and I call it “the gospel of homesickness.” (Walker Percy understood this too, and anyone who reads his Lost in the Cosmos and The Message in the Bottle will be delighted, if not challenged.) We don’t feel “at home” here. Why–if we are the product of a blind watchmaker, i.e., evolutionary process. What, in our scientific explanations of ourselves, accounts for this wanton sense of homelessness? Their conclusion (Lewis and Percy): we were “made for another world.”

Jack had a heavenly GPS and his readers are finding their way home with his help as their navigator. Brooke Fraser, New Zealander Christian songwriter, tries to capture this longing in this song from her album, Albertine.


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