The Weight of Glory

"The Weight of Glory"

June 8, 1941


"The Weight of Glory" was originally a sermon C.S. Lewis preached in 1941 when England was at war with Germany.  He begins by observing that people today would consider unselfishness as the highest virtue, while Christians of centuries past would place love in that slot.  Rather than extol self-denial, Lewis contends that our desires are not strong enough; we lack a longing for glory.  The glory to which he refers is partly the approval of God and partly our entry into splendor itself.  Lewis concludes by reminding us that we are all immortal and should treat one another accordingly.

"This is Lewis's most famous sermon and justly so.  A summary cannot do justice to the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual impact of the thoughts contained here.  Lewis virtually always enlightens and usually edifies, but this is one of the rare occasions when a nonfiction essay of his primarily inspires."                                    
Marvin D. Hinten
From The C.S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia

1. Modern Christians have substituted unselfishness for love as the highest-ranking virtue. What danger does Lewis see in this substitution?

2. How does Lewis distinguish between mercenary rewards and natural rewards? How does Lewis extend the schoolboy analogy to the Christian and heaven?

3. What metaphors and images does Lewis use to describe longing or desire?

4. What does a person's physical hunger prove? What does our longing for Heaven indicate?

5. The idea of glory initially suggested two ideas to Lewis: one wicked and the other ridiculous. After looking into what other Christians had to say, how does Lewis expand upon the definition of "glory"?

6. What is the razor edge we walk on every day? How does this tie in with our longing?

7. Lewis says that presently we are on the outside of the door, but the pages of the New Testament rustle with the rumor that one day we shall get in. Until then, for those who are reborn in Christ, our spirit lives directly on God, but our mind and body receive life from God a thousand times removed. What are the implications of this for the pleasures we experience now? Those we will experience in the future?

8. Explain Lewis's contention that there are no ordinary, mortal people?

© 2011 by Allyson Wieland