Kennedy, Lewis died same day, almost 50 years ago

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 16, 2013

I remember sitting in my third grade classroom waiting for the bell to ring, dismissing school on Nov. 22, 1963. When my dad walked in, I wondered why he didn’t wait for me in the car. He told my teacher the President had been shot. She expressed disbelief. Then, the principal announced the tragic news over the intercom.

The same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, author and Professor C.S. Lewis died in Oxford, En-gland. Both men’s words still speak to us today. I still have My Weekly Reader that includes President Kennedy’s inaugural speech in which he said, “And so, my fellow Americans – ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Clive Staples Lewis, born in Belfast, Ireland, studied at the University of Oxford, and later taught there for more than 25 years. Lewis became an atheist in his teens, but at age 33, underwent a dramatic conversion to Christ. Biographers say his friend J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, had discussions with Lewis about Christianity.

Of the more than 40 books Lewis wrote, Mere Christianity, published in 1952, is considered a classic.  The book is a collection of radio broadcasts Lewis delivered during World War II. In it, Lewis presents an eloquent, undeniable case for believing in Christ.

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”  He went on to say, “When you are arguing with Him you are arguing against the very power than makes you able to argue at all.”

Lewis wrote, “At Bethlehem God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.”  He also said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

From 1950-1956, C.S. Lewis penned a series of children’s books called The Chronicles of Narnia. The seven book series, though written for children, presents Biblical theology in an allegory form that helps children and adults understand.  I think the seventh book, The Last Battle, is a great commentary on the book of Revelation.

Several of the best-selling books in the series have been adapted into movies – such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which tells the story of mankind’s redemption from evil through the sacrificial death of the lion, Aslan, who symbolizes Christ.  The books and movies remind me of one of Jesus’ teaching methods.  He “told them many things in parables” to help them understand His message (Matthew 13:3).

C.S. Lewis lived 64 years and John Kennedy lived 46 years. Kennedy once said, “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

Lewis reminded Christians of the promise of eternal life in heaven, “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret?  There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”