his essay “The Weight of Glory,” C. S. Lewis
helpfully reminds us, “It may be possible for
each to think too much of his own potential
glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him
to think too often or too deeply about that of
his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden
of my neighbour’s glory should be laid on
my back, a load so heavy that only humility
can carry it, and the backs of the proud will
be broken” (The Weight of Glory and Other
Addresses, Macmillan, 1980 ).
Surely this intersection of eternity with
place is what the disciples experienced
when they witnessed the risen Christ. The
women who bore the earliest witness were
thought by the others to be speaking nonsense (Luke 24: 11).
How to begin spreading the Good News
with those closest among them? In this
sense resurrection embodies (or perhaps
disembodies) the uncanny too. It offers
mystery so profound as to be unspeakable
until it first calls each of us by name.
As a Canadian and a believer, I have dis-
covered I have all the more affinity with the
uncanny. The borderland space of familiar/
unfamiliar is actually familiar territory to
us. I began to see how my
understanding is not so
contradictory after all. Com-
ing home with new eyes, re-
turning to a place and seeing
it differently, offers a tremen-
Revisitation lays the path
to resurrection. When we
revisit a place, we bring back
with us our prior memories of
that spot fused to our longings
since we left it. As a result, we
understand ourselves and others in relation
to our social (and so now too, spiritual) location, with more insight, compassion and
hope. We leave the tomb weeping and we
return to it, through it, transformed.
When we return to a place where we
laid Christ’s body as a sacrifice for reconciliation, should we, or should we not, be so
surprised to find angels awaiting us there?
I would hope the awe would never leave
us – and yet should the fulfillment of such
assurance startle? “Believe me when I say
that I am in the Father and the Father is in
me; or at least believe on the evidence of the
works themselves” (John 14: 11).
Resurrection is the pinnacle of all miracles. Christ’s own resurrection offers the
template by which we will at some point
in redeemed eternity enjoy full bodily and
spiritual resurrection. But it also offers the
miraculous rhythm by which we live the life
We best bear witness to the risen Christ
when we bear witness to the risen Christ
within ourselves. As a people of resurrection, we must live in the light of resurrection and share a language of resurrection.
In so doing, as a people of eternity brought
to a place for a time such as this, we must
then ask ourselves: Where is my Jerusalem? And then particularly for Canadians,
I think, we must appropriate our language
of silence, of apology in both senses of the
term – assuming together humility and assurance – to speak of God’s grace in building toward our Jerusalem, wherever on this
earth for the present it may be.
“Anyone with a sacramental understanding of the world knows that it’s the small
things that count,” writes Kathleen Norris in
The Cloister Walk (Riverhead Books, 1997).
When we share the gospel, when we live the
gospel, among family, friends and neighbours
first, we localize grace. And as
everyone eventually learns,
and as we certainly know
as a people acquainted with
snow, great things consist of
accumulated small things.
By now, I have become
used to the surprise folks
voice when they hear why
I moved back and where
we most recently left. First,
when I explain I became
a Christian while studying
abroad, people tend to say something like,
“I’ve heard of someone losing her faith as
the result of going to university, but never
of someone finding it.” I usually then share
my conversion experience, trying, as the
Apostle Paul advises, to temper my lan-
guage to my audience, hopefully without
defensiveness, but also without excuse.
Next, these Canadians standing knee
deep in slush begin to shuffle their salt-encrusted winter boots and invariably ask
where I moved from in the States. When I
answer most recently from Santa Barbara,
California, they look at me incredulously
and exclaim more than ask, “Why!”
I always pause. I can’t help it.
Is it the way you can smell the changes
in the seasons before you see them? Is it the
sound of geese crying across the frozen lake?
Or the silent work of maples shocking sap
into pails when all else still seems asleep
and unmoving? Is it how humidity mosses
thundering evening air, the storm heralded
by slowly building drops of rain? Or is it the
crackle underfoot of leaves so bright as to
seem you are walking on fire?
And perhaps it is all of this, magnifying
the blessing of having been sent back.
If only I had the words to tell you. I
think of the line from Reverend John
Ames, Marilynne Robinson’s narrator of
Gilead (Little, Brown Book Group, 2009),
her beautiful book about faithful aging in
But all I do is smile and say, “It’s
CAROLyn WeBeR is the author of the
memoirs Surprised by Oxford (Thomas nel-
son, 2011) and Holy Is the Day (Intervarsity
Press, 2013). she lives in her hometown of
London, Ontario, with her husband and four
children. visit her at www.pressingsave.com.
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