In his essay “The Weight of Glory,” C.S. Lewis considers the echoes of eternity found in every person. Occasionally, we encounter the “scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited” (Lewis, 2001, p. 31). Lewis suggests these faint echoes and deep longings reveal our true nature and destiny, that we were meant for more. The current world and our current existence are but echoes of our original self and intended life. But, as Lewis so artfully puts it, “all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so” (Lewis, 2001, p. 43). One day we will put on glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).
You might at this point expect Lewis to take these reflections and begin to revel in the significance of redeemed people. But instead, Lewis turns to consider his neighbor. He uses these reflections to stimulate evangelism and love for our fellow man. Lewis writes:
[I]t may be asked what practical use there is in the speculations which I have been indulging. I can think of at least one such use. It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. (p. 45)
If every person is made in God’s image and every person is made for some greater reality, Lewis reasons, then every person is of far greater value than we often realize. Eternal souls walk about us daily, and this should change the way we love and live. Lewis (2001) continues:
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. (pp. 45-46)
I appreciate the conclusion Lewis draws here. We should not be indifferent to or show disdain for others. More than anyone Christians should, with a sense of awe, minister to every person.
Lewis, C. S. (2001). The Weight of Glory. San Francisco: HarperOne.