Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Logos in love

In my top 100 favorite Christian books...(maybe even top 25), The Screwtape Letters certainly rates a spot, though I've never ordered them, so I can't tell you where.  I'm just writing off the top of my head here.  Hmm, maybe I'll have to do that sometime.  You know the book, of course.  Written by CS Lewis, it was originally presented as radio talks during WWII, from the point of views of two devils--Screwtape and Wormwood.  Lewis was rather appalled to realize how easy it was to write from the point of view of demons, to look at the Christian life in the negative, so to speak, and even to see God as 'the enemy.'  But it touched a chord first in the listeners, then in the myriad readers over the sixty years since its publication.  Almost every time I think of humility, I think of words from Screwtape, that humility is not a matter of a beautiful woman saying she's not beautiful but acknowledging that she is and taking no credit for it, knowing she did nothing to deserve it but that it came as a gift.   Knowing who to thank.

But Screwtape spawned a book written by Calvin Miller, copyright 1982.  At least to me, it felt spawned by Lewis, I should say.  At least, Lewis informed Miller's thought substantially. Good books do that.  I do not throw stones here--that is not my point. This book is called The Valiant Papers.  It's a collection of letters written by a human's guardian angel, Valiant, as the human--a young man we only know as J.B. journeys toward the Kingdom.  

I read the book back in 1982 when it first came out, and most of it was OK.  Fine enough.  But there is a section that touched me so deeply, I memorized it on the spot, and have never forgotten it.  So when I found this book among my many last week, I dove in to find it, because speaking of Jesus' death from the point of view of the angels in heaven--who did not quite know what God the Father was completely about--hits me in my gut and heart and soul.  And awakens something that needs to be awakened.  Yes, again, 20 years later, it needs to be awakened again. 

Here it is:
"The highest love does not seek sweating starbursts...The best love still comes back from hilltops with wounded hands, forgiving all its assassins.
I remember well the death day of our Logos.  The vultures circled the gallows, but He would not leave the world.  He hung there just as if He had to do it.  He would not abandon those puny nails and come back home.  I remember how His heart finally broke, and they laid His body against His mother's coarse-cloth dress. She cried. Upperton (heaven) agreed in anguish.
We had waited for hours with drawn swords, but He would not give the word.  I was ready with the rest.  We would have made a junkyard of Muddyscuttle (earth), but He forbade it, and we all knew why. Our Logos was in Love! IN LOVE with a fallen planet, whose one great reply to His desire was the gallows." 
Calvin Miller,  The Valiant Papers, 68-69.

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