Living The Passion

‘Does not every movement in the passion write large some common element in the sufferings of our race? First, the prayer of anguish, not granted. Then he turns to his friends. They are asleep as ours, or we, are so often, or busy, or away, or preoccupied. Then he faces the Church, the very Church that he brought into existence. It condemns him. This is also characteristic. In every Church, in every institution, there is something which sooner or later works against the very purpose for which it came into existence. But there seems to be another chance. There is the state, in this case the Roman state. Its pretensions are far lower than those of the Jewish church, but for that very reason it may be free from local fanaticisms. It claims to be just on a rough worldly level. Yes, but only in so far as is consistent with political expediency and raison d’état.* One becomes a counter in a complicated game. But even now all is not lost. There is still an appeal to the People—the poor and simple whom he had blessed, whom he had healed and fed and taught, to whom he himself belongs. But they have become overnight (it is nothing unusual) a murderous rabble shouting for his blood. There is then nothing left but God. And to God, God’s last words are, “Why hast thou forsaken me?”

You see how characteristic, how representative, it all is. The human situation writ large. These are among the things it means to be a man. Every rope breaks when you seize it. Every door is slammed as you reach it. To be like the fox at the end of the run; the earths all staked.’

* a purely political reason for action on the part of a ruler or government, especially where a departure from openness, justice, or honesty is involved.

(Lewis CS. Letters to Malcolm Ch. 8 – also in The Business of Heaven April 6)

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