Friday, November 22, 2013

A Day of Thanksgiving

We gathered at Westminster Abbey, a thousand of us, to remember and give thanks for C.S. Lewis on the 50th anniversary of his death -- an end of life date that he shares with JFK and Aldous Huxley.  Friends and scholars of Lewis months ago successfully advocated with the administration of the Abbey for the dedication of a memorial stone in Poets' Corner in honor of Lewis and his prolific and transformative writings.  They agreed that the 50th anniversary of his death would be an appropriate day to do this. So there we were, privately assembled in the cavernous hall to worship and give thanks for this man who brought the faith into the lives and hearts of thousands, perhaps millions, including our own.

Tears filled my eyes as his last ever student read from the Old Testament, his stepson read from The Last Battle and his "loyal to the end" literary secretary, Walter Hooper, laid flowers upon the marker.  All the people who knew Lewis most intimately were there and graced the celebration. 

I am not sure I have ever been in a moment and space where more thanksgiving has been offered and felt. Each person there showed forth a deep sense of humility before the legacy of this great man and his work.  We were all there to say thanks.  But not just thanks, but a deeper gratitude as if to say, "You changed my life and you never knew it." 

No one would have been more surprised over what we were doing than Lewis himself.  The quiet reflective gaze I saw in Walter Hooper's face was what I imagine we would see in Lewis if he had been around for the festivities. 

I came away with the deep sense of "I am not worthy."  It is what I truly feel. I am not worthy of the joy and peace I found in reading and writing about so many of Lewis books, and I am not worthy to have attended such a profound event. 

Thanks be to God.

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