Pastoral Letter by Mike Clark

Look Up, Look Out!

One of the great challenges of lockdown (for me at least) has been not letting the walls close in so that life becomes smaller and smaller. One of the great blessings of lockdown (for me at least) has been the opportunity it’s given me to listen to a number of excellent sermons and lectures which are all freely available online. The other day I heard a talk by John Piper on C.S. Lewis, which helpfully put things in perspective again by reminding me of the things that matters most in life. According to Lewis:

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics [our lockdown]. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. . . Your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”

C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

Now there’s a sobering and clarifying thought! What does the eternal nature of human beings mean for how we live our lives? It means, says Lewis, that we take people seriously – even now during lockdown – conscious that every day and in every encounter, we’re being confronted either by “immortal horrors” or “everlasting wonders”. For “the salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world” or anything else for that matter so that “the glory of God and. . . the salvation of human souls is the real business of life”.

This week after lunch on Sunday, a lady in my family who prefers to remain anonymous encouraged us all to keep “looking up and looking out”, which struck me as both an excellent summary of what Lewis is saying and very good advice for right now. She also shared with us her goal of reaching out and caring for at least one person every day. Imagine how good it would be if we all did that?! Because while there’s little joy to be found looking in or at yourself in the mirror (or its online bubble equivalent – my feed/my facebook page etc), looking up and out is the stuff of life!

May the Lord keep you drawing on His strength as you keep looking to the needs of precious, precious people this week!

In His grace,
Mike Clark