60 Years Later, C. S. Lewis’s Voice Still Speaks

Randy Alcorn
Eternal Perspectives Ministry
Based in Oregon

I shared these reflections on my Facebook page , but I wanted to also share them on my blog and add some other important things about C.S. Lewis.

Wednesday, November 22, flooded me with memories of exactly 60 years ago, as a nine-year-old third grader at Orient Elementary School. I remember the exact place I was standing on the stairs, walking from one room to another about 10:40 AM when a teacher, also on the stairway, said, “President Kennedy has been shot.” Within the hour we got the news that he was dead. It affected all the teachers and students dramatically.

When I got home from school that day, my mother was in front of our black and white TV weeping. JFK was young and strong and athletic, very popular among children. We talked about him in class all the time; it was very different from today’s world. All of our lives changed that day, as it all seemed so unthinkable. That Thanksgiving and Christmas our country was under a shadow.  The president was a superhero to us (not so much to many church families, but I didn’t grow up in a church family).

Years later, after I had come to Christ and was by then reading every book by C. S. Lewis I could find, I discovered that Lewis had died the same day as Kennedy. Still later I learned it was just one hour earlier. Two immensely powerful figures in my life, one who would eventually exert far more and lasting influence than the president.

Samuel James writes, “It is a remarkable providence that John F. Kennedy and C.S. Lewis died on the same day. It is likewise remarkable that while Kennedy obtained the most powerful office in the world, it is the professor, the letter writer, and the storyteller Lewis whose prophetic voice rings out most audibly and most wisely from the grave.”

(See his article A prophetic voice rings out.)

Finally, this article from Trevin Wax on Lewis’s last days is touching. Trevin writes,

Lewis said goodbye to his closest friends, perhaps like Reepicheep as he headed over the wave in his coracle in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader—“trying to be sad for their sakes” while “quivering with happiness.” The joy—the stab of inconsolable longing—that animated his poetry and prose was on display in how he died, in those weeks of quiet rest, as he endured his physical maladies with patience and good humor, in full faith that this earthly realm is just a prelude to the next chapter of a greater story, a new and wondrous reality suffused with the deep magic of divine love.

See Randy’s blog about C. S. Lewis’s influence on his life and writing, as well as his conference message about C.S. Lewis on Heaven and the New Earth.

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