Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Way - or the carcass

Sagittarius Rising (1936) was written by Cecil Lewis while living in Piedmont (Lake Maggiore) in a house he built from a pile of ancient stones. He was looking back on the causes of the Second World War, which he clearly saw looming.

Cecil Lewis was one of the founders of the BBC. He had fought his way through WW1 as a fighter ace in the Royal Flying Corps (the predecessor of the RAF) at the Somme and over London. He would serve again, as an RAF flying instructor in Sicily in 1943. Though philosophical in outlook, he lost, sadly, any Christian faith from his early years, as the son of a non-conformist pastor. He later took up with an esoteric world religion.

By the age of 34, Cecil Lewis arrived at this dark conclusion:

Man, collectively, is the most evil of creatures, driven by greed, jealousy, using religion to falsely justify atrocities. He pursues trivialities with all his might, ending in exhaustion, driven by an obsession to achieve the next objective, supported by science and technology. At the start of the 20th century, science was a wild runaway invention, only 100 years old. “If it can be done, then do it” whether “it” is meaningful or not. 

Life becomes a carcass, each person tearing off bits of it. This creates a culture half in love with death. There is no one in charge who subscribes to the whole picture. Such people exist but they are ignored, partly because their course of wisdom demands sacrifice and drastic change, going against the flight to death and destruction. 

During The Roaring Twenties, wisdom did not return. Carcass behaviours (self-indulgence etc) got even worse leading to the Depression of the 1930s. Another World War in 1939 was the only solution to the Great Depression.

These were strong views, even coming out of World War One. In spite of seventy blessed years of peace in Europe, the same is essentially true. Modern life is very 'left-brain' - it is about detail and compartmentalised logic: there is no one steering it. Professor Hawkins says we are about to give control to mad machines. Modern life is a runaway car on a hill - with no one at the steering wheel.

The only path of salvation involves self-sacrifice, service, Faith, Love and Charity. It is the Path which has been rejected down the ages. In the first century, the Promised Land given by God to His people was just sixty years from annihilation, when a Child was born who had the big picture in the biggest way possible - because He was life’s inventor.

Jesus would share the bleak future of Israel and its ‘blind guides’ with the few who would listen to Him - and trust in His Way. The Way teaches salvation from the carcass view of life. His Holy Spirit gives the power to resist the lemming-like rush towards The Cliff of Self-Destruction.

His Way says: 'Follow Me: I will give you life - and life to the full', not a carcass of left-overs which ends in exhaustion, emptiness, death - and eternal shame.   His Way is Himself as Guide.

The Way means drastic change: a rejection of greed and the glint of money, plus service, and self-sacrifice. It also requires a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 

Life's stark choice still is :  The Way - or the carcass?

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