“Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.”
- C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory
Have you ever felt as though you don’t belong in this world? Like.... wherever your turn you come face to face with people and things that seem strange to you and wonder why you don’t really fit into the things of this world? Maybe you even feel like nothing in this world, not even the wondrous and beautiful can truly quench the greater desire you have deep inside? You don't understand where this passion for greater things comes from and you are certainly baffled by the feeling of "not fitting". Maybe that's just it! Have you ever stopped to think that it could be true? That maybe you always feel like you don't fit in because that is how you were created! CRAZY right!!! You are not alone and trust me you don’t have these feelings simply because you feel inferior, no. There is a greater, more glorious reason for this strange happening:) God created us like this for a reason so AMAZING!
I am sure that many of you have never read C.S. Lewis’s The Weight of Glory. If you have not read this work, I highly encourage you to do so, because it is absolutely incredibly amazing and intriguing and shines a light on a topic which we do not give much contemplation towards. However, before I dive head first into talking about all this work has to tell us, let me first give you a little bit of background for when it was first released.
The Weight of Glory was a sermon preached by C.S. Lewis on June 8, 1941, when England was at war with Germany. Now if you consider when this sermon was given, it was spoken in a time when many people where in hard times due to WWII, which definitely makes the words from the sermon much more powerful. The main point of C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory is that a desire for something greater and something that we have not yet seen is built into our fundamental human nature. Within each of us is a desire for heaven, because that is what we were made for. Earth is just our temporary home (thank God!). We have a desire for Heaven because that is how God created us!
C.S. Lewis titled his sermon The Weight of Glory because that is our eternal reward upon arrival to heaven. C.S. Lewis states, “The promise of scripture may very roughly to reduce to five heads. It is promised, firstly, that we shall be with Christ; secondly, that we shall be like him; thirdly, with an enormous wealth of imagery, that we shall have 'glory;' fourthly, that we shall, in some sense, be fed or feasted or entertained; and finally that we shall have some sort of position in the Universe.”
While every promise is so unfathomable and incredible we now know that what we have to look forward to is something "Glorious" (for lack of a better word). Let us however focus on the third promise of scripture; for the others are indeed a topic for another day. The third promise we are given is that “we shall have glory.” But what is “glory” in the sense that it is used? What does it really mean for us?
Picture in your head for a moment what comes to mind when you hear the word “glory.” Maybe you are seeing angels, or think that it means some type of elevation? Those are both slightly true, but let us look at a definition to understand what it means:
Glory à n. 1) very great praise, honor, and distinction bestowed by common consent.
2) Resplendent beauty or magnificence.
While those are both accurate definitions of glory and give us a glimpse of its brilliance, let us further look at the definition we are given by C.S. Lewis which is truly magnificent: “Either glory means to me fame, or it means luminosity (The Weight of Glory).”
When you think of “Glory”, you might think something along the lines of the first definition (fame) given by C.S. Lewis; I know I do. However, while you probably always look at glory as someone or something receiving fame, do you ever look of “glory” as being luminosity? You might be wondering what does “luminosity” mean? I could give you the dictionary definition, but why don’t we look back at The Weight of Glory to see if it explains this perspective in more detail:
“As for the first, since to be famous means to be better known than other people, the desire for fame appears to me as a competitive passion and therefore of hell rather than heaven. As for the second, who wants to become a kind of living electric light bulb?”
Wow!!! A light bulb...yes please:) That is quite an interesting description and picture of what luminosity will be, but if you think about it, it is completely accurate. And honestly, don’t you think it is cool that we will be like a light bulb? Not in the sense of really being a light bulb, but in the sense, that we will be bright, a shining “Luminous” light when we arrive in heaven!! Way Cool!!!!
However, while C.S. Lewis’s point is that we ourselves (our soul) in Heaven will be something like a “living electric light bulb,” that is however, just one of the main points of this work that he is trying to get across to us. Rather, the overall point of his work, is that we have a desire built inside of us for Heaven and the even more so, the treasures and things of heaven, but here is the absolutely amazing part! Your desire for the things of heaven comes from your desires of the things that you marvel at or take joy in here on earth every day! I know that is an interesting concept, but understand it this way. Let us say you adore music. You cannot ever get enough of it, and anytime those notes reach your ears you are drawn towards the music. There is a reason for this desire for music deep within you and the reason being that your inner yearning is really for the music of heaven. However, because your inner being yearns for the music of heaven, no earthly melody will ever be enough to satisfy your desire, because the harmonies on earth will never be anything compared to the music of heaven! Oh how glorious that music will sound:) You can apply this concept to anything else in life, if you love nature: flowers, plants, etc...just think of Heavenly beauty such as this!!! C.S. Lewis discusses this inner desire in his work, The Weight of Glory:
“We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”
Isn’t this utterly amazing!!!! Our longing for the things of Heaven is within us, because it is Gods way of building an inner longing for heaven within our being. And though this might seem strange at times, it is so powerful because it truly shows us that Heaven is our real home; earth is just our present stop. Therefore, do not despair! When it seems like you don’t fit in and are different, you really are! We were made since the dawn of time to be different! We were made for a place other than this world.....our true home, Heaven! Embrace the magnificence of God's plan in how he created you and the longings he planted within your soul!
“ The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the bringing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret…”
The reality for each one of us, is that we will always have a longing for the splendors of Heaven, because we do not belong here. C.S Lewis states, “There are no ordinary people…But it is immortals, whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendorous (Lewis 9).” That quote always gives me chills! There truly are no ordinary people and the sooner we realize this, the better off we will be. We might have an idea of what our glory in Heaven will be like, but we will never be able to fathom how it marvelous!!!
2 Corinthians 3:10-11
Elizabeth Elliot describes heaven as this, “Heaven is not here, it’s there. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever loving us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”
"Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache." (The Weight of Glory)
Though it is Heaven and everything beyond its gates of splendor that we have a strong desire for, it is also glory that is bestowed upon us in heaven. We cannot even begin to imaging what the glory of Heaven will be like, but it is not just Heaven that will have glory and be "luminous". Remember, each of us will posses a since of “glory”, and as C.S. Lewis so picturesquely stated, we will be a “living electric lightbulb!”
One day GLORY will truly be ours in our Heavenly Home!!! Therefore, when you feel despaired because of the world and its pressures, lies, and brokenness.....remember that "there are no ORDINARY people" for you were made for a different place, a higher calling, a glorious life! Nothing on earth can ever quench the longing and desire withing our soul for the things of Heaven, but we have the confidence to know that one day "we will get in"!!! I can't even begin to imagine how amazing and awe inspiring that day will be but all I can do is dream about a place beyond world!!!
Have you ever read The Weight of Glory?
What do you think about the Glory that we will have one day?