I reached the last two sentences of this week’s chapter of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and I nearly choked:
“Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”
I thought this was a chapter about the Trinity, and instead it looked like I walked into idolatry.
Retrace steps. Reread. Repeat several times.
Then I understood. I had to go back several pages, but I understood.
Earlier, Lewis has said that perhaps the most important difference between Christianity and all other religions is that, in Christianity, God is not a static thing, not even a person, “but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.”
If we “come to let God have his way, come to share in the life of Christ,” we become part of the drama, part of the dance. Like Christ, we are sons of god. We love the Father as Christ does, and the Holy Spirit arises in us.
That’s what Lewis meant about Christians becoming “little Christs.”
I understand what he meant, but it still doesn’t mean I understand the Trinity. I believe it to be true, but that “pulsating activity” and that kind of drama is like nothing I know or have known in my life. It’s puzzled wiser heads than mine, so I’m in good company.
But I read Lewis here, and I see what he says about “the dance,” and I understand him to be right.
Years ago, I read a series of rather extraordinary novels by the British novelist Charles Williams, a friend of C.S. Lewis and close enough to be considered one of the Inklings. The novels have rather fantastic titles, like War in Heaven, Many Dimensions, The Greater Trumps and Descent into Hell. The novels are rather fantastic stories, “fantastic” in the sense of “like fantasy” but something else. I can’t think of anyone today writing in a similar vein.
But they all capture something of this dance, this kind of drama about God that Lewis describes. And he would have been working on his radio broadcasts that became Mere Christianity at the time Williams (an editor with Oxford Press) was living in Oxford due to the bombing in London.
I think Williams would have understood this dance described by Lewis perfectly well.