When the Inklings, gathered together in the small English town of Oxford, began discussing their stories and their faith journey as a group of friends, none of them could predict that they would build a literary corpus which promises to impact a dying Western culture almost a century after that group first gathered.
At the heart of their lives stood the Cross, and as their works flourished through a process of critique and growth within the group, the members each understood that the others had a unique perspective on the mystery of faith, something to share, that helped achieve mutual growth. Tolkien was a master linguist, Lewis a philosopher with a rich imagination, Barfield a dramatist, Charles Williams a poet; many others came and went in this wonderful group of scholars, and all contributed to what became the common goal of defending the Christian faith, taking eternal truths and sharing them in a new light. Their writings and poems and plays, coupled with the even more sublime story of their life together, continue to inspire people of faith today, encouraging them to find new ways of encountering the Cross in the midst of the Christian community. While these men didn’t always agree (to put it mildly), they were men of prayer with an eternal vision.
At St. Luke’s, we recently conducted a survey of parishioners regarding the future of our Church and School. The responses, given by roughly 115 people, exemplify marvelously the various diverse viewpoints which are present in our parish community. These differing viewpoints are essential and show that each has something to offer in the great goal of building our community together. Each has a unique perspective. We will face challenges in the years ahead as we try and build a greater community together, one that can truly respect varying viewpoints, but the success (or failure) of our time together will be determined by whether or not we strive to bring out the best in the other members. The ministries at this parish are manifold, and they will only increase. All of us has something we can learn from one another, and something we can contribute, and as long as we remain a people of prayer with an eternal vision, open to growth along the way, then all the growing pains of the upcoming years will result in a stronger and more united community, under the sign of the Cross. It is going to be an amazing road we walk together, and may the road lead to a deeper encounter of our Christian religion for all of us, just as it did for those wonderful Inklings nearly a century ago.