Todd Wedel, Academic Dean

Todd Wedel, Academic Dean

C.S. Lewis writes powerfully in The Great Divorce of the weight of glory he pictures from his sermon of the same title, the text taken from 2 Corinthians 4:17.

In The Great Divorce, he pictures for us the heavenly country. There, souls first coming from the gray town are light. They have no weight. The grass blades slice, or would slice, but the souls have no substance. It is only as they grow, as they undertake the journey to the mountains, the journey to God Himself as the source of glory, that they gain weight and shape and form.

The souls which return from there, only seeking other souls to take on the journey, are larger, more solid. The most solid, those most imbued with the glory of God, are shining, bright to sight, thunderous in voice.

In The Weight of Glory, Lewis writes,

The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. . . There are no ordinary people. . .But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.

It is Douglas Wilson, I believe, who has offered that teachers, just as pastors, parents, and others who find themselves entrusted with the care of the younger in our midst, must be ever mindful of the truth. As a teacher, those whom I find in my class, I find because it is God who has ordered their being there, and I find as I enter myself in the company of other eternal beings, others who are not and may not ever be neutral, but only on one of two paths.

Certainly, the inescapably moral dimension of education becomes apparent. Education as more than fact or figure, more than logic or rhetoric, is obvious. As the mission statement of The Academy states, “shaping students’ affections” is that with which we have to do.

It is a helpful corrective to remember that to desire to shape students into lifelong learners is, itself, a moral task. For the lifelong learner, to truly be learning, must have an end. There are many who seek knowledge, even truth, perhaps, but who find themselves never satisfied, never satiated. They may seem to be “lifelong learners,” those equipped to learn and who pursue it passionately.

But if we so see, we have far too short a view of life. The lifelong learner does not cease with death. Life is not defined between the two terminus of birth and death. Life continues into eternity.

Perhaps the better vision is a Lifelong learner. For it is only those whose thirst has been first awakened by a taste at the Wellspring of Life who will pursue learning to its right end here, the pursuit in all of the Giver of Life, the one who created thirst and gave the eternal water poured from His side to slake it.

And it is only they who will learn in light of what must be true: As we step from this world to the New Heavens and New Earth, we will find ourselves in the presence of the One who is Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, the One who has imbued all His creation so that we might spend eternity learning, seeking, growing in worshipful appreciation of His manifold works and words.

Imitators of Him, image bearers now no longer marred by the Fall, we, too, will create. Unhindered by our hesitations, we will ever learn the glories of our limitations as children of God in the wonder of His immanent transcendent perfection.

For then we shall be ever satisfied with the search—partaking of an eternal thirst for Him that drinks deeply at the well of His presence yet finds no end to the desire for greater depths and heights and horizons.

Any else is too small a vision, too small a task, for it is too small, too poor, too light an appreciation for what God has wrought in His creation of man and His ordination of learning—seeking to find in all the slight echoes and images that must awaken the weighty desire only for Him.