Born late 19th century. – Belfast, Ireland
Considered – one of – most influential writers of the 20th century.
- Chronicles of Narnia – Lion, Witch, wardrobe,
- Mere Christianity
The Screwtape Letters
Collection of Letters 3 characters
All you need to know is 3 characters.
- Screwtape The uncle – Senior demon. – Highly experienced and extremely successful demon. – The author of all the letters. ‘Our father below’ – Satan. ‘Our enemy above’ – God.
- Wormwood Screwtape’s nephew. – Demon who’s new to the job and doesn’t really know how to tempt his human yet.
- 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).
Thus far: We’ve followed patient:
- Becomes a Christian
- Goes to Church
- Goes to War
- Falls in Love
- Is Afraid
The Patient dies
Killed: Air raid – Just gone to heaven
Last time – screwtape will write to his nephew.
MY DEAR, MY VERY DEAR, WORMWOOD, MY POPPET, MY HONEY BUN, How ridiculous, now that you’ve lost, you come whimpering to ask me whether or not my affection for you is real. Rest assured, my love for you and your love for me are as alike as two peas.
I have always desired you, just as you (you pitiful fool) have desired me. The difference is that I am stronger. I think they will give you to me now; or a bit of you. Love you? Why, yes. As tasty of a morsel as I’ve ever grown fat on.
Wormwood is to become food. You have let the patient slip through your fingers. It makes me mad to think of it. I know exactly what happened in the instant when they snatched him from you!
There was a sudden realization in his eyes (was there not?) when he saw you for the first time, and realized the part you have played in his life. And when he realized that you play that part no longer.
The more I think about it, the worse it becomes. He got through so easily! No gradual doubts, no doctor’s sentence, no nursing home, no operating room, no false hopes of life; just total, instantaneous liberation.
You defeated fool. Did you notice how naturally the earthborn rodent entered the new life? How all his doubts became, in the twinkling of an eye, ridiculous?
I know what the creature was saying to itself! “Yes. Of course. Now I understand!
All horrors in this world follow the same pattern: Things get worse and worse till can’t get any worse, then, at the very moment when you thought you must be crushed, suddenly, all was well.
The tooth extraction hurts more and more and then the tooth pops out. The dream becomes a nightmare and then you wake up. You die and die and then you are beyond death.
And as he saw you, he also saw Them. I know how it was. He had no faintest idea how they would look, and at times, even doubted their existence. But when he saw them he knew that he had always known them.
He realized what part each one of them had played in dark hours of his life when he thought he was alone. He was able to say to them, one by one, not “Who are you?” but “So it was you all the time”.
He saw not only Them; he saw Him. Unbelievable that this human animal, this thing born in a bed, could look at Him. What is blinding, suffocating fire to you, is now cool light to him. He is clarity itself, and wears the form of a Man.
Meanwhile, I have you to settle with. Most truly do I sign myself
Your increasingly and ravenously affectionate uncle, SCREWTAPE
The enemy of humanity:
Not a common Christmas topic. Death is something that affects us all.
Some people – small life. Some people who have a small life, with just a small little family and that’s it, well they probably have to deal with death 5 times in their life. But man, with people like many of us, who have huge groups of family, and friends, and church family, we have to deal with death continually throughout our lives.
Ministry In the ministry, every day of our life, we’re dealing with the reality of people dying all the time and was so compleely shocking.
Deepest most primal fear
Some would argue behind every fear lies the fear of death. Don’t just mean when you’re hiking and you get to a ledge and your stomach jumps. Not just talking about that.
I mean that creeping feeling that can haunt you your whole life.
No matter how careful, cautious we are – diet, exciercise, cholesterol. – None of us gets out of this alive. Death catches up with every one of us. We’re all one day closer to the grave that we were yesterday.
This is a HORRIBLE Christmas sermon.
Every friendship ends – funeral.
Mostly deal with it by not dealing with it.
Out of sight / mind.
Try not to look at it square in the face.
Or maybe by little cliches: Death is a part of life. Sort of. But it’s actually the absence of life.
One of the things that makes us human: we know we’re going to die.
Our dogs don’t have this problem.
- They’re gonna die, but they don’t know it.
- That’s why their tail is wagging.
Albert Camus (Camoo)
French Philosopher born in Algeria
Assuming some of you had to read “The Stranger” in school.
Wrote a book in 1942 – The Myth of Sisyphus (Sis-i-phus)
Figure in greek mythology
“condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again.“
Analogy for how life is ultimately meaningless since there is no God.
Teenage girl – Works at a butcher shop
Sitting at the front desk reading The Myth of Sisyphus. Meanwhile her friend and coworker is on the phone. (Clip)
You probably wouldn’t say it exactly like Noreen, but I bet we have all been confronted with death and how it attacks the value of life.
Death is the greatest problem with being human.
It’s because it threatens to rob life of all ultimate meaning.
We -Live –Love –Hope –Dream -Die. – Big problem.
Its: One – reasons – people struggle w/God.
This fear of death, the fear that we’re dealing with something that’s limited:
Applies to all kinds of things in life and causes us all kinds of suffering.
Usually used when they’re talking about someone who’s gone through a long period of time where things are scarce.
A lot of people who come out of these experiences always have the fear that things will once again be scarce. It’s not rational. It’s a type of PTSD.
- Tend to hoard food, even though they don’t need to.
- And ration food, even though they don’t need to.
Always fear in the back of their mind, and it takes a lot of the joy of out eating.
A pastor that I really like – he lived in a house like this. His mom went through the great depression. Everything was rationed.
If they needed to go to the bathroom. Go to the mom to get their ration of toilet paper.
- Number 1 for the girls – 1 piece of toilet paper.
- Number 2 – 2 pieces of toilet paper.
He grew up thinking that was normal. So when he was married, he was shocked at how much toilet paper his wife used.
Money / Material possessions. / Time
Most people in life, live with this ‘the clock is ticking’ mindset.
Even if we believe in the afterlife, we still life as if ‘this is it!’
Without realizing it, it sucks a lot of the joy out of life. – Not even aware of it.
Classic timeline Graduated from high school, date for a couple years, get married in your twenties, have 2.5 kids by the time you’re 30.
And when that doesn’t happen, let’s say you’re 35 and you’re single.
OMG! – The clock!!! – Start making bad decisions.
It’s the fear of death.
For some people: Never take risks.
Find “OK” life.
When God might be calling you to something amazing.
Following God almost always required risk. Stepping out of the boat.
For some: Protecting themselves at all costs.
Stops you from loving. – And instead of being a peacemaker, you end up making fun of the peacemakers, to make yourself feel better.
Fraction – professing Christians – seriously :
Only a fraction of professing Christians take seriously the command of Jesus to love and forgive our enemies.
The great problem the gospel solves is the problem of death.
B/C not only would Jesus weep next to a grave (lazarus), Jesus would be laid in a grave. But he doesn’t stay dead.
The solution to the problem of death is RESURRECTION.
The solution is : God raises the dead. Eternal Life
Gives : hope / meaning.
We know death is not supposed to be
I’ve read that one of the reasons that death is so scary is because we inherently know that it’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
“Eternal life” is something that resonates in the human soul.
“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.” (Woody Allen – Athiest)
Something not natural about a precious human life ending.
We can be people who are so driven by what we see.
Afraid of things slipping through your fingers.
Encourage you: Put your faith is Jesus – put your trust in eternal life.
As your faith grows, your fear of death shrinks.
As you learn to trust God with your life, you stop feeling the need to hold onto it so tightly.
Having faith in your eternal life frees you to experience every day without fear.
Everything in the Christian life points to the cross and the resurrection.
When we put our faith in Jesus, we can be freed from the slaverey of death. Frees us to truly love.
Fear casts out love. – Perfect love casts out all fear.
St John Chrysostom (Cris-os-tom) 4th century – Arch bishop – Constantinople
He who fears death is a slave to everyone and everything in order to avoid dying. But he who does not fear death is outside the tyranny of the devil. For indeed, man who gives skin for skin (EYE FOR EYE), will give all things for the sake of his own life,’ (Job 2:4). If a man should decide to disregard this, whose slave is he then? He fears no one, is terrified by no one, and is freer than everyone. And when the devil finds such a man, he can accomplish in him none of his works. Tell me, what can he threaten? The loss of money or honor? Or exile from one’s country? For these are small things to him ‘who counts not even his life dear’. (Paul – Acts 20.24).
he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)
Jesus comes and he teaches us to trust in Him and to rest.
As Jesus was talking to his disciples, most of whom will be killed.
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)
Death. The great enemy of humanity is defeated by eternal life.
Pass – The band is gonna sing, then we’ll take communion together.
St John Chysostom.
Year 400AD – preached an easter sermon – church went nuts for it. So good, orthodox church said “You know what? We’re gonna read it every easter.” – They’ve done so for over 1600 years. Now THAT’S a good sermon.
Talks – God – overcome death – Invite people – communion table.
Are there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their reward!
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be fear.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!
Let no one grieve at his spiritual poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed death by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when He descended into it.
He put an end to death as it tasted of His flesh.
Hell took a corpse, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!
We remember your death,
We proclaim your resurrection,
We await your return.
This is His body – broken for you
Blood – poured out for you.
Let’s eat the bread & drink from the cup.