Music and lyrics: “Patches of Godlight”
Editor’s Note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday on the Tabernacle Choir’s weekly show in Temple Square. This was recorded at the ovens outside Oxford, England in June 2022. This will be given on Sunday October 16, 2022.
I stand in front of a house called The Kilns, located in Headington, just outside Oxford, England. The house gets its name from the fact that it was built a long time ago on a brickyard site. It’s a lovely house surrounded by beautiful gardens, but it would be unremarkable if it weren’t for the fact that beloved writer and Oxford University professor CS Lewis lived here for over 30 years until his death. died in 1963. He wrote his most notable books here, including ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, ‘The Screw Letters’ and ‘Simple Christianity’ to name a few.
This charming place is reminiscent of those words Lewis wrote: “Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun that you could never get from reading books on astronomy.” These pure, spontaneous pleasures are “patches of divine light” in the woods of our experience” (see “Letters to Malcolm: Mainly About Prayer”) by Lewis.
As Lewis well knew, you cannot always predict when a patch of sunshine or a patch of “divine light” will shine in your life. But you can put yourself in a position to receive that light, because God, like the sun, is always there, whether we recognize it or not.
Lewis himself, for example, was an atheist in his early teens and into his twenties. But then his faith in Christianity was rekindled with the help of his close friend and fellow professor JRR Tolkien. Lewis called himself “the most faith-reluctant convert” (see “CS Lewis as Atheist Turned Apostle”, by David C. Downing, at cslewis.com), but once converted – once that shred of light divine has arrived – he believed with his whole heart, mind and soul.
CS Lewis spent the rest of his life teaching God and his love. “The big thing to remember,” he explained, “is that even though our feelings come and go, [God’s] love for us does not” (see “Simple Christianity”).
Church of the Holy Trinity
A memorial to C. S. Lewis stands in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey in London, placed there on the 50th anniversary of Lewis’s death. His current grave is a few miles from The Kilns, here in the peaceful surroundings of Holy Trinity Church.
Inside the church are reminders of his life, including a plaque on the pew where he sat. But perhaps the most moving monument to CS Lewis’s life and faith is the ‘Window of Narnia’, a fitting reminder to do what he did: seek and find light – spots of light Divine.
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