Real Presenceby Leanne Payne, 1979
The works of C.S. Lewis are often praised for their imaginative qualities, or their rational defense of Christianity, but rarely are they lauded for their presentation of a life suffused with the Presence of God. Yet this is a theme that runs throughout his writings and, as Leanne Payne demonstrates in this book, it was his experience of the Presence of God that allowed him to be so equally talented in both imagination and reason.
- Introduction: Incarnational Reality — The experience of the Real Presence of the risen Christ filling and indwelling us is the thing that truly separates Christianity from all other religions.
- God, Super-Nature, and Nature — The three levels of reality, according to Lewis. He viewed the spirit levels as more real and substantial, but usually beyond our perception. It is the union of our physical natures with these levels that leads us into unique individuality.
- Sacrament: Avenue to the Real — Spirit can be encountered in and through material forms. Sacraments in the church are outward signs of inward graces, but the expression of the Life of God in an indwelt person is a sacrament to those with whom he or she comes into contact.
- Spirit, Soul, and Body — We become truly Christian when our whole being (spirit, soul, and body) comes into contact with the Real Presence. Every part of us can be transformed by the revitalising Life of God.
- Till We Have Faces — God cannot meet us face to face until we have a face. All our masks and veils hide us from the Presence of God. We must be honest with God and with ourselves before we can be changed by His direct Presence.
- We’ve Been “Undragoned” — Pride is the fundamental danger that besets the spiritually awakened. It starts by practicing the presence of the old man, in keeping our attention on our own sins. Our introspection may be rewarded by some degree of improvement as we progress, but our spiritual growth is severely hampered by our focus on self. Finally, we begin to compare ourselves with others who are not progressing at all, or perhaps progressing farther but not in an approved way. Pride is only defeated by turning our whole attention away from ourselves and onto God.
- The Great Dance — To obey is to listen. When we are obedient to what we hear from God, we unite our will with the Will of God and allow Him to create in us the person He intends us to be. To be obedient is to choose joy.
- The Way of the Cross — Our attempts to be obedient, so long as we are looking solely at the moral code, will fail. But obedience that listens, and wills to be united with God through Jesus Christ, has the power of the Holy Spirit in it to accomplish what has been commanded.
- The Whole Intellect — Intellect is informed by faith. Whether it is the merely scientific intellect that holds to the dogma that “nature is all there is,” or the Christian intellect that accepts that the things revealed by God are so even when we cannot explain them. Man understands imperfectly, but when he acts on that which he does know, he can become a channel of the Presence and Power of God to all of Creation.
- The Whole Imagination I: Surprised by Joy — Objectivity is essential to a right understanding of creativity. Art is communion. It is an attempt to present to the rest of the world a tiny gleam of the awe experienced by the imagination. Imagination takes us out of ourselves and reveals something objective to us. When that Object is God, we experience true Joy and have the opportunity to pass that Joy on to others.
- The Whole Imagination II: The Two Minds — Imagination senses the Real, the intellect shapes the creative idea which has arisen. Introspection examines too closely the experience of the Real and quenches it by seeking the sensations of the experience rather than the Objective Reality that caused them. Only by loving God and by training both minds on Him can we truly believe and become whole.
- Appendix:The Great Divorce — Good and evil cannot be reconciled. God is good and made all things good. Evil is a parasite to good, steals its strength, and finally destroys those things that were created good.