Book Review: The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, by C.S. Lewis.
New York: Touchstone, 1996.
Covenant Library section: Christian Living
Does anyone need an excuse to read C.S. Lewis? Throughout this book, Lewis urges us to “set our hearts on things above” (Colossians 3:1). Weighing in at a mere 143 pages, is a collection of nine addresses or talks given by the famous Oxford professor around the time of World War II.
Several of these were originally given to groups of students, and the perspective he offers to young people in “Learning in War-Time” and “The Inner Ring” is still fresh. Not one to shy away from controversy, his address to a pacifist society was entitled “Why I Am Not a Pacifist.” “Transposition” challenges the idea that life in heaven is a pale imitation of earthly life; instead, it is just the other way around. “On Forgiveness” and “A Slip of the Tongue” delve into the meaning of true forgiveness and commitment to God: “He claims all, because He is love and must bless. He cannot bless us unless He has us. When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death” (p. 141).
“Membership” is a gem, elucidating the principle of (church) membership as distinct from individualism and collectivism. As members in the body of Christ, we are far more than interchangeable units. The title essay, “The Weight of Glory,” is worth re-reading either when we feel discouraged or inclined to love the world too much. It tears away the veil of what we think we want, and points us to the only One who can satisfy us forever.
The introduction to this book should not be missed. It was written by a Kentucky scholar named Walter Hooper who served as Lewis’ secretary during the last year of Lewis’ life. He shares a number of personal anecdotes from his acquaintance with C.S. Lewis, and for a moment, you are there too.