C. S. Lewis is known as one of the great cultural raconteurs of his day. He brought his huge intellect and imagination to the question of life, meaning, and faith, but not in the warm safety of the church. He largely held these conversations in the midst of a world in turmoil. His book Mere Christianity stands as a timeless description of our faith, but the most powerful aspect of this project was its context. The book began its life as a series of radio shows broadcast in Britain during the darkest days of WWII. It was Lewis’ inspired response to the questions and challenges faced by his culture—to bring comfort and clarity to a people cowed by War.

Last Sunday I spoke about how we are being formed by the daily habits, patterns and rituals that we spend our time and energy engaged in—whether it’s shopping, work, social media, fitness, and so on. Philosopher James K. A. Smith makes the insightful point that there are no religiously neutral times or spaces in our lives. Even the things we do that seem most neutral or functional actually carry a specific vision of life—what Smith describes as “secular liturgies,” which are essentially devotional practices that point our lives in a certain direction, towards a certain goal. So, if we are (at least in part) made by what do, last Sunday we spoke about how we can be “Sabbath-keepers” who carry the peace of Christ with us 7 days a week.

The flipside of this, of course, is that we are also called to articulate the hope of our faith in words and ideas that relate to every context of life. Just as C. S. Lewis engaged with the challenges of his times, we are also scattered as salt and light in ours, to cleanse and clarify. We follow in the footsteps of one of the iconic characters of the Old Testament, King Solomon, who stands as an exemplar of our role in the world as God’s people. In Solomon’s humility, God granted him wisdom in every sphere of life, which travelled far beyond the confines of Israel. Foreign rulers came from every part of the known world to draw on his wisdom and knowledge. (1 Kings 4:34)

So, with these illustrious mentors in mind, today we’re exploring what it means to engage with some of the urgent questions and concerns bubbling up within our own culture. These sorts of topics may feel strange to be discussing in church, and yet they go to the very heart of our faith and calling in the world.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant