Joe's spoken word at Cafe Night at HOC. 04/24/09
The Weight of Glory: Spoken Word
By C.S. Lewis and Joseph Tsang
In my heart of heart I sometimes wonder if we have ever desired anything other than heaven.
The books you really love are bound together by this secret thread, which seems to you to be common.
But your friends not being able to see the link, often
wonder why, liking Tolkien you would also like Bunyan
Or maybe some of you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody the Lost Eden.
and then turning to someone at your side, who seems to be seeing what you saw—but at your very fist words a gulf yawns between you, and you realize that this landscape—- means to them something completely foreign.
This desire you have is certain.
But you cannot express it,
you want it but cannot understand it.
Cause you have never had it.
All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it—tantalizing glimpses, promises that never quite came close to it
echoes that died away just when they started to sound like it
But if the echo did not die away and should really swell up into the sound itself.
—you would know it.
The signature of each soul written with a its own font,
the incommunicable and unappeasable want,
This longing for a scent of a flower we have not yet found,
This echo of a tune we have yet to hear its sound
This thing is what we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work,
and which we shall still desire on our death beds, when the mind no long knows wife or friend or work.
While we are, this is.
Without this, we loose all.
If it is not real, how did I end up needing it so much?
All my life this unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of my consciousness.
And I dont think it is baseless, causeless
The scriptures are filled with these unblushing promises
Of a state where our soul would finally be in bliss
And if you are willing to return with me to that state of childlikeness
And allow me to open up that inconsolable secret in each one of us,
We may, perhaps, just, find out who we are created to be and meant to do.
Why do we have this lifelong nostalgia, to be reunited with something in the universe which we can only touch its boundary?
to be on the inside of some door which we have always been on the out, cant be no neurotic fancy,
but it must be a true index of our real identity
if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously,
If we believe that God will one day give us the Morning, then we may surmise that what we have desired all along, so false as history, may be true as prophesy.
At present we may be on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door.
We discern the purity of morning, but they do not make us pure, leaving us only longing for more.
We cannot mingle, at present, with the splendors we see.
But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with a rumor that this will not always be
Some day, God willing, we shall get in,
But meanwhile the cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is Monday morning.
That being so, it may be asked what use are these speculations, in which I have been indulging.
Thats fair and here is my answer,
that though it may be possible for each of us to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter;
it is hardly possible for any one of us to think either too often or too deeply about the glory of his neighbor.
The weight of glory in my neighbor should be put on the back of my shoulder for me to perpetually behold its splendor.
It is a burden only the humble can be the bearer
Its that paradox that those who kneel to pray become taller
That those of you who desire to be the greatest shall be the first to surrender
And the practical implications of this is enormous,
For it means we are living 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 so goodness graciously gorgeous that you would be almost tempted to worship him like Jesus.
And it is with circumspection proper to this goddess that we must learn to practice real life righteousness.
Cause everyone is not only priceless,
Next to the Jesus itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.
There are no ordinary people.
You have never talked to a mere mortal.
I know this is a bit scary
And that is why this spoken word is rightfully called The Weight of Glory.