“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night” (Psalm 92:1, 2).
C. S. Lewis, the British writer, critic, and scholar was made famous by The Chronicles of Narnia, among other works, and his apologetic essays about Christianity. He was an atheist for a great part of his youth, but at the age of thirty, converted to Christianity. He was very good friends with R. R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings, and it was partly thanks to him that Lewis was converted. It is very interesting to read conversion stories of adult, influential people. I invite you today to find some of these stories. You will be delighted to see the extraordinary ways God has of meeting these people and transforming them despite their different contexts and ideals. C. S. Lewis, perhaps with a speech somewhat like that of Saul of Tarsus, said, «That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me… I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed. » Helen Joy Gresham, Lewis’s wife, also had a religious experience as an adult and said, “All my defenses—the walls of arrogance, certainty, and selfishness that I had hidden from God—collapsed . and God came in.”
On one occasion, C. S. Lewis said that when he started going to church, he did not like the hymns. For him, they were fifth-class poems with sixth-class music. It is true that, in analyzing the structure of hymns musically, we realize that it is really quite simple. However, we note, as he also noted, that beyond the structure, they are sung with devotion, and we are moved by their messages and the way we identify with the experiences and the worship described in them.
In true praise and collective worship, we inevitably come out of our solitary arrogance.
Perhaps what happened to this famous man has happened to you: you think hymns are sometimes boring or simple, but the secret lies in the willingness of the heart, in the willingness to praise together and to share that moment of camaraderie centered on the same God.
Do you also have a conversion story to tell? It is not worth saying here that “we were born in the church.” When did you really meet God?