Monday, January 18, 2016

such a great cloud of witnesses

Today we read the January 18th selection from A Year with C.S. Lewis. If you're just joining us, you can buy this book from for $2.99 as an e-book.

This is one of my favorite quotes from Lewis. He tells us about the "hard-bitten" old officer in the Royal Air Force who has "no use" for Lewis's theology, though he says he experienced God one night in the desert.

Lewis points out two profound things. The one we usually take home with us is the map idea. That looking at the ocean is more fun than looking at a map, but a map is indispensable if we want to CROSS the ocean.

But the previous point is the one that really hit home tonight with me. Lewis talks about all of the thousands of people whose experiences have produced those "maps". And, no matter where you're coming from as you read this blog, there is a "great cloud of witnesses" that you can learn from. Maybe you're not a Christian, but you want to learn more. You can read the Bible and find out more about Him from those who came before you. Maybe you're a protestant and don't have much use for "the saints". You can still learn from the wisdom and example of people like George Muller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, or Richard Foster.

If you're Catholic like me, you can read all of the above... but also delve oh so deeply into the lives of the saints. You can swim down deep into the lives and wisdom and experiences of St. Therese of Lisieux, or St. Augustine, or St. Julian of Norwich. You can be inspired by Chesterton and Francis of Assisi and St Thomas Aquinas.

There is SO MUCH wisdom out there for us to learn from. You don't have to reinvent the wheel or blaze a trail to get to the good stuff. They've been there already and left us a map.

Let's follow it.

God, thanks for surrounding us with such a great cloud of witnesses. And thanks for the reminder to learn from them.


HappyGrama said...

Great advice, Jeff. Thanks!

julie reedy said...

My heart aches fit those who have decided not to read or learn from history, history does repeat itself over and over. Not spending time reading from those who came before us is just egocentricity to the max. Help us all to take time and get off our phones to read and learn.