Introduce – C.S. Lewis
Considered – one of – most influential writers of the 20th century.
Justin Lauer – large tattoo.
Born: 1898 – Died: November 22, 1963
Same day John F. Kennedy was assissinated.
Raised in a religious home.
Grandfather – Anglican Priest
When he was 4 – dog Jacksie – killed by a car, and he announced that his name was Jacksie. – Eventually allowed it to be shortened to ‘Jack’ – continued to be known by friends and family as ‘Jack’ for the rest of his life.
At 15, he loses his faith and pronounces his commitment to atheism and the occult.
Shipped off to france – Fight WW1 – And he says the horror of war strengthened his atheism,
Close friends with J.R.R. Tolkein
B/C of that influence, He eventually returns to Christianity.
Suprised by Joy
You must picture me alone in my room, night after night, feeling the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.
- Chronicles of Narnia – Lion, Witch, wardrobe,
- Mere Christianity
The Screwtape Letters
Telling of the story of a human life. Told from the view point of a demon bent on destroying the humans faith.
- Marvel Comic Book
- History Channel Documentary
- Entire Music Albums – centered around the book
- In U2’s song – ‘Hold me thrill me, kiss me, kill me’ – Animated Bono is walking through the streets holding The Screwtape Letters.
- Ronald Reagan is one of his presidential speeches quoted the screwtape letters.
- His writing style can be somewhat difficult if you’re not used to reading C.S. Lewis, so I’ve modified some of the quotes to make them more understandable for us. – But even so, you might have to ‘work for it’ a little more than with some other more obvious sermons.
- Also, of course, not everyone believes in a literal satan & demons. I personally do. But don’t get caught up on that. As you’ll see, that’s not actually what the book is about. – Traps that we so easily fall into.
All you need – 3 characters.
All you need to know is 3 characters.
The uncle – Senior demon. – Highly experienced and extremely successful demon. – The author of all the letters. ‘Our father below’ – Satan. ‘Our enemy above’ – God.
Screwtapes nephew. – Demon who’s new to the job and doesn’t really know how to tempt his human yet.
3. The Patient
The recently converted human who is the subject of the book. Wormwood (the nephew) is assigned the patient to reclaim back from the camp of the enemy (God).
Never Heard a sermon
I’ve never heard a sermon on the screwtape letters. I think B/C it’s a very strange book and it’s hard to turn a strange fictional book into a sermon. But I’ve done my best and I hope it works.
My vision is that we’ll be able to enjoy this interesting story, and also find things that apply to us and our lives. See yourself in the main character.
We’ll follow the patient through some of the major life events, with each week being a new phase of life for the patient. So, here goes nothing.
Wk 1: The Patient Becomes a Christian.
My dear wormwood, I note with grave displeasure that your patient has become a Christian.
The patient has begun a journey of following after Jesus.
This is deserving of a severe punishment for dear, young wormwood, but all is not lost, says uncle screwtape.
What they need to do is some damage control.
He reminds his nephew that “Many people go through such conversions and after a brief visit to the enemy’s camp, simply fall away.”
After talking a bit about the church and his friends (which we’ll get to later) – Screwtape sets his sight on 2 main areas of counter attack.
They both corrolate ways of thinking that without our even knowing it sabotage the christian faith.
These are 2 huge reasons that people leave the christian faith.
1. The patient is encouraged to never turn his feelings into actions.
Screwtape: It’s unfortunate that the patient has become a Christian, but as long as Christianity is more of a feeling thing and never allowed into the place where it changes who we are and what we do, that there’s no real danger of it lasting.
Screwtape understands: Convictions that don’t affect how we act. Are not real.
Personal Story – Wife. – Not real.
When you really love someone, your actions display that love.
And I think this is such a true message for the world today, because people love having a cause, but often times don’t like sacrificing for it.
We like our convictions to be things we ‘feel’ and not things we ‘do’.
Atlanta – Martin Luther King Jr Tour
- Firestation Number 6
- Rev Williams – (Pic) “Marched” (Video)
I’m haunted by the fact huge portions of the church rejected the message of martin Luther King.
But just as bad, I think about the thousands of people who must have sat in those churches, while Martin Luther King Jr was being condemned, I think of all the people who must have been there and silently supported him but never had the courage to speak up.
Screwtape: Let him do anything but act.
I hope, when I’m dead and gone, that I’ll be remembered as someone who had the courage to ‘walk’ for what I believed in.
Your commitment to something is only as real as your willingness to sacrifice for it.
And as Christians, it’s always important for us to continually open ourselves up to the leading of the spirit. And the change that comes from following after Jesus.
Screwtape says that “The longer humans feel without acting the less they will ever be able to act.”
In other words: If our Christian life is only a feeling thing and not a ‘doing’ thing, it will always be that way.
If we don’t change.
Back – book,
2. The patient is encouraged to think that his view of the world is always right.
Back to the book, Number 2 – The patient is encouraged to think that his view of the world is always right.
Screwtape says “Human beings find it very difficult to believe in something new so long as they they can’t let go of the old.”
He says ‘Keep encouraging – ordinary things.’
- The ordinary ways of talking.
- The ordinary ways of thinking.
For many of us, we have lived so much life, that we have these huge structures of belief in our own hearts, that there’s no place for new.
No room for new ideas – I wonder if that sounds at all like the global church to anyone.
Pope Francis – 266th Pope.
Incredibly loved Pope. Also, incredible hated. – Challenging assumptions in the catholic church that have been there for 1,000’s of years.
‘The most powerful message of Jesus Christ is mercy.’
If that doesn’t sound strange as the primary message from the catholic church, then you’re probably not catholic.
This is a Pope who got BUSTED for sneaking out in the middle of the night to feed the poor. (Pic)
For the first time in my life, I’m actually seeing young people CHOOSING catholicism.
I’m not catholic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not catholic and I don’t encourage you to become catholic, but I DO think it’s significant that one of the oldest, moldiest, grumpiest religions in the world is finding new life as they journey into new ways of thinking and believing.
And I think that we as the church, can sometimes get so resistant to new ideas that we the end up: never growing and never changing.
We live in world where we can, if we choose to, completely insulate ourselves with people who always think exactly like us.
We’re so afraid/offended with opinions that are different than ours that the only people we seriously listen to are the people that we’ve previously decided are right.
A lot of Christians have already decided they know everything about God and the world, so they never open their mind to new ideas. So they never grow.
Screwtape – “Let the patient study nothing but somehow consider himself an expert in all things.”
For a community like ours, the only way we find our way into the new thing God is doing in the next 25 years of the church is by having the courage to think that things could be different.
That we might be wrong about some stuff.
(If you know absolutely everything about the bible, raise your hand.)
With that should come a certain degree of humility and openness to other people and other ideas.
It’s such a hinderance to our growth for us to instantly reject that which we don’t understand.
I just want us to be people who are open to God moving in surprising ways.
The Patient becomes a Christian.
- The patient is encouraged to never turn his feelings into actions.
- The patient is encouraged to think that his view of the world is always right.
We’re just setting the stage for the story.
In the following weeks – the patient is fall in love, go to war, pray, have doubts. – And in each week we’ll try to find ourselves in him and learn from his successes and his failures.
As we close, we’ll take communion.
We do this in rememberance of Jesus.
When the disciples had lost their beloved teacher, he returns and reminds them they’ve had him all along. In the shared breaking of bread.
Through this series, I want to recieve communion in a different way.
I’m a bit of a hybrid. – I believe in the new. But I also believe that completely abondoning our Christian heritage for the sake of the ‘New’ in a big mistake.
There’s definately this sense of casting off the old. But also: sense of reclaiming things that have been lost.
Going through your grandparents old clothes, and realizing that some of those things fit you better than you had thought.
So for communion in this series, I’m wanting to shift back a little, a find ourselves in something bigger than ourselves.
To not just think of ourselves as this totally new thing, that has no allegiance to anything else, but instead think of ourselves on this big journey of what God has been doing over the centuries.
SO… For communion during this series, I want us to go back and explore some of our heritage & take communion in ways that people have for centuries before us. and I pray that it’s as meaningful to you as it has been to me.
Band – sing – pass.
So the band is gonna sing while they pass, and then I’ll lead us in recieving communion together.
This is a reading from the book of common prayer.
Angelican trandition – 1500’s – updated
We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love
which you have made known to us in creation; in the calling
of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the
prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your
Son. For in these last days you sent him from
the Virgin Mary, to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world.
In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy
to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error
into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.
On the night before he died for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took
bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and
gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body,
which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given
thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you:
This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you
for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink
it, do this for the remembrance of me.”
We remember your death,
We proclaim your resurrection,
We await your return.