As I sit and watch Shadowlands I get to think on how great a man CS Lewis was. It was “Jack” who played so central a role in my conversion. It was back in the spring of 1999, ten years ago, that the Screwtape Letters struck me with a force so strong it was as if I had discovered a new kind of energy. I remember the surprise with which me, the guy who hated all fantasy novels and the like, was pushed so close to leaving atheism behind and embracing ‘irrational’ faith by a story about an imagined correspondence between two demons. It was Jack who wrote Mere Christainity, which remains merely the finest book a person can read.
I am, to speak frankly, shitting myself. Tomorrow morning I rise early and don a suit. For eight hours I will be interviewed, I will preprare and deliver sermons and I will be observed in discussion with my peers. I have no true idea of what it will be like but I know that at some point in the evening I will receive a phone call from a noble man who will tell me whether or not in the matter of my distinct sense that the Holy Spirit calls me to ordained ministry and the church’s appraisal of me, if “deep calls out to deep”. The whole process seems strange. The interview process doesn’t exactly match onto the real life of a church minister. A phone call seems like a strangely sterile way to impart the news. If ever there was cause for pomp and ceremony… It’s not like if the answer is yes I simply get a new job.
I think I am called to preach the good news that we need not be alienated from God to everyone who will listen. Tomorrow, the venerable and ancient Catholic church of Irish Presbyterians decides yay or nay on whether they also hear that call.
I drink Leffe and eat an easter egg Claire gave me. I feel nervous like a child, in a way that adults rarely feel nervous. Because it is not the nerves of fear. It is the nerves of Christmas Eve as a boy. It is giddy. What gift will I receive? It is a strange and awe-full nervousness.
Starkly put, I am grateful. God has poured out many blessings on me. But tonight I feel that so sharply, I can’t help but think it remarkable. I have no idea what the “average” experience of God is. But whether tomorrow the answer is yes or the answer is no, tonight at least I know that God calls us to speak our yes as yes and our no as no. And there is more in that teaching of St. Paul to the Corinthians than the world can ever know.
And regardless of what answer my beloved community gives me, I know that God speaks a yes to me. And a life spent sharing that is a life spent well.
Your Correspondent, Got blue black ink and it’s scratched into his lower back. It said: “Damn right I’ll rise again.”