Friday, November 1, 2013

Mere Lewistry

"The dominant impression I get from reading the Psalms is one of antiquity.  I seem to be looking into a deep pit of time, but looking through a lens which brings the figures who inhabit that depth up close to my eye.  In that momentary proximity they are almost shockingly alien; creatures of unrestrained emotion, wallowing in self-pity, sobbing, cursing, screaming in exultation, clashing uncouth weapons or dancing to the din of strange musical instruments.  Yet, side by side with this, there is also a different image in my mind:  Anglican choirs, well laundered surplices, soapy boys' faces, hassocks, an organ, prayer-books, and perhaps the smell of new-mown graveyard grass coming in with the sunlight through an open door.  Sometimes the one, sometimes the other, impression grows faint, but neither, perhaps ever quite disappears.  The irony reaches its height when a boy soloist sings in that treble which is so beautifully free from all personal emotion the words whereby ancient warriors lashed themselves with frenzy against their enemies; and does this in the service of the God of Love, and himself, meanwhile, perhaps thinks neither of God nor of ancient wars but of 'bullseyes' and the Comics. This irony, this double or treble vision, is part of the pleasure.  I begin to suspect that it is part of the profit too."

+ C. S. Lewis, "The Pslams" (Christian Reflections)

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