Thursday, October 4, 2012

Joy as the Gigantic Secret of the Christian—G.K. Chesterton

In my last post C.S. Lewis borrowed twice from George MacDonald, one of his favorite Christian writers. Another Christian writer Lewis and his dear friend J.R.R. Tolkien admired was G.K. Chesterton. What Chesterton says about joy in the last paragraph of his book Orthodoxy seems to have strongly influenced both Tolkien and Lewis, judging by the strands of mirth woven deeply throughout their works of fantasy. Think of the Christ-like characters you encounter in The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, and then see if this quote from Chesterton helps you understand them better: 

" the gigantic secret of the Christian.... The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect.... His pathos was natural, almost casual. The stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face.... Yet He concealed something. Solemn...and imperial diplomats are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something.... There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth."

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