Sunday, February 02, 2014

The Holy Game, The Eternal Dance

In the final chapter of "The Problem of Pain," C.S. Lewis develops several difficult to follow arguments when he tackles the subject of Heaven. For example, his thoughts about sentient animals and whether or not the family pet goes to heaven are admittedly speculative given the lack of a Biblical basis for his and our "old maid" desire to be in heaven with the animal that we cared for during life.

As Lewis plays with the subject of Heaven he scores some points when he writes about giving up the "self". His imagery makes me think of the Holy Trinity.
"The golden apple of selfhood, thrown among the false gods, became an apple of discord because they scrambled for it. They did not know the first rule of the holy game, which is that every player must by all means touch the ball and then immediately pass it on. To be found with it in your hands is a fault: to cling to it, death. But when it flies to and fro among the players too swift for eye to follow, and the great master Himself leads the revelry, giving Himself eternally to His creatures in the generation, and back to Himself in the sacrifice, of the Word, then indeed the eternal dance 'makes heaven drowsy with the harmony'." C.S. Lewis, "The Problem of Pain" 1940. Harper Collins  2001 edition p.158.

This seemed appropriate to post on a Candlemas/Groundhog Day/Theological Education/Super Bowl Sunday as one tries to juggle all the games that the false gods of the pantheists, the Presiding Bishop, and the NFL are throwing at us to try to keep us from focusing on the master of the revelry Himself.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
   O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints
   for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
   to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
   and the swallow a nest for herself,
   where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
   my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house,
   ever singing your praise.
5 Happy are those whose strength is in you,
   in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the valley of Baca
   they make it a place of springs;
   the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
   the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
   give ear, O God of Jacob!
9 Behold our shield, O God;
   look on the face of your anointed.
10 For a day in your courts is better
   than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
   than live in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
   he bestows favour and honour.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
   from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
   happy is everyone who trusts in you. Psalm 84


  1. Pewster,
    It also happens to be the Sunday that the Presentation of our Lord falls on (Feb 2nd). "Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thee that, as thy only begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

    1. And spare us good Lord from football for at least six months!