almost 3 years ago millions of people made a pilgrimage. they filled rome’s st. peter’s square. weeping. wailing. mourning. cardinals convened and the conclave commenced. for a day and a half we eagerly watched, and waited for the black smoke to turn white. i was taken in by the archaic rites of the papal passing. this week marks a separate passing… equally stirring, though not as visually stimulating. a mighty servant is being remembered. he is individually mourned rather than collectively. and although with death comes sadness, as isaiah reminds us, we are given beauty for ashes and joy for mourning. i believe it was a joyful reunion for president gordon b. hinckley four years in the making.
this joy and peace, comes through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer. his grace makes us whole. his power promises us life after death. though we face trials, challenges, heartache and death in this world — we respectively experience opportunities, triumphs, exultation and life.
“god whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world… try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.”
(c.s. lewis, the problem of pain; 1940) “of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk.” (c.s. lewis, mere christianity; 1952)
last night i completed the chronicles of narnia. i had only ever read the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. i was quickly caught up in the adventure of the next six books. i was taken in. i sought out and gleaned every bit of symbolism possible from his writing. his words proved powerful, much like other books full of truth and light.
“at present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. we discern the freshness and purity of the morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. we cannot mingle with the splendours we see. but all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. some day, God willing, we shall get in.” (c.s. lewis, the weight of glory; 1949)
william wordsworth penned the same sentiment: “our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: the soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, hath had elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar: not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home…”
the last battle of narnia completes the chronicles. all foes and heroes meet their final judgement and at last are welcomed home to Aslan. he comforts them, reminding them that “the dream is ended: this is the morning.” may it so be for all of us.