Thursday, March 20, 2014

To be found doing our duty...

On a city bus returning from school some years ago I was approached by a man who wanted to discuss the end times — to convince me of the urgent importance of belief. I told him I was a Christian but then also that I thought it more important to be aware of one's mortality — that you couldn't be certain you would live another minute — than to calculate the end of times. That seems to me part of the point C.S. Lewis is making in this exchange from his final interview:
Sherwood Wirt: What do you think is going to happen in the next few years of history, Mr. Lewis?

C.S. Lewis: I have no way of knowing. My primary field is the past. I travel with my back to the engine, and that makes it difficult when you try to steer. The world might stop in ten minutes; meanwhile, we are to go on doing our duty. The great thing is to be found at one’s post as a child of God, living each day a though it were our last, but planning as though our world might last a hundred years.

We have, of course, the assurance of the New Testament regarding events to come (Matthew 24:4-44; Mark 13:5-27; Luke 21:8-33). I find it difficult to keep from laughing when I find people worrying about future destruction of some kind or other. Didn’t they know they were going to die anyway? Apparently not. My wife once asked a young woman friend whether she had ever thought of death, and she replied, ‘By the time I reach that age science will have done something about it!’ .... [more]