Our visit to London and Oxford was capped off yesterday with tea at the Kilns, C. S. Lewis' former home, now owned and operated as a study centre by the C. S. Lewis Foundation. In the photo above, my son Josh and I are sitting in the common room with Lewis' step-son, Douglas Gresham. It was a pleasure to see Doug again, as well as other friends from around the world, and to spend time with Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, a leader of the Orthodox Church in England, and Aidan Mackey, the world renowned G. K. Chesterton scholar. Thanks to Debbie Higgens for the invitation to partake of her delicious tea and to our friend Chris Jenkins for driving us from Watford to Oxford and back.
There is really only one word to describe the experience of being present in Westminster Abbey for the memorial service honouring C. S. Lewis yesterday; that word is: joy.
To sit, as we did, on the ancient stone marking the grave of Geoffrey Chaucer, a few feet away from the newly carved stone in memory of C. S. Lewis, was truly amazing. The service itself was stirring from beginning to end, with music from Shadowlands for an introit, a recorded reading by C. S. Lewis from one of his BBC talks, to a reading from The Last Battle by Doug Gresham, to the laying of a wreath by Walter Hooper, and sermon by former Archbishop of Canterbury, the most reverend Rowan Williams.
"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." C. S. Lewis, Is Theology Poetry?
We have enjoyed three fabulous days in London so far. On Day 2 we watched the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace in a hail storm. Then we were off to Watford where I spoke to a men's outreach dinner gathering.
On Day 3 we toured the Tower of London, followed by attendance at the C. S. Lewis Symposium at Westminster Abbey. We listened to great lectures from Alister McGrath and Malcolm Guite as well as a splendid panel discussion led by Michael Ward. All of this was topped off last night by a delightful dinner with friends old and new.
We arrived in London yesterday morning and hit the ground running. Our friend, Cole Mattson, met us at our hotel and from there we walked to the British Museum. There we enjoyed lunch in the Grand Court.
We only had time to see a few things (Elgin Marbles & the Rosetta Stone) before our friend Cole had to leave us.
But then last night we saw one of the best musicals I have ever seen.
I am leaving home for London today with my youngest son, Josh, who is fourteen. We will be spending a week in this, arguably the greatest city in the world. Our primary purpose will be to attend the memorial service in Westminster Abbey honoring the 50th anniversary of the death of C. S. Lewis and see the unveiling of the plaque that will be dedicated to his honor in Poets' Corner. Of course, we will be doing a number of other things along the way and we shall try to chronicle our trip here. So stay tuned....
Today is Billy Graham's 95th birthday. 64 years ago yesterday, my father's life was dramatically changed by a message preached by Mr. Graham in a tent meeting at the corner of Washington and Hill in Los Angeles. Were it not for that message, and the transformation it brought about in my father's life, I never would have been born.
Now Mr. Graham has a new message, that I believe is worthy of watching and sharing. You can see it below....