Fifty years ago today, C.S. Lewis quietly passed away in his home the Kilns near Oxford, England. His death garnered scant attention from the worldwide media, focused on the shocking news of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Today, people whose lives have been impacted and inspired by the writings and life of Lewis, gathered in Poets Corner, Westminster Abby to honor this Christian apologist, scholar, novelist, and poet with a commemorative stone. I joined them in spirit.
Lewis’s writings continue to influence countless people around the globe; winning many to Christ and helping others grow in their faith. My husband, as a young arrogant atheist at the University of Virginia, committed his life to Christ after hearing the gospel shared by a prominent economics professor, using Lewis’s argument from Mere Christianity that Jesus was either who He said He was –Lord and God–or He was a lunatic or the devil. This convincing argument enabled my husband to pass from doubt to faith that Jesus is indeed Lord. He is now a minister.
I did not encounter Lewis until about the same time. As an adult, I began reading with delight The Chronicles of Narnia—a delight I enjoyed with all our nine children, and they now with theirs. After participating in the triennial Oxbridge conferences sponsored by the C.S. Lewis Foundation, I was inspired to share in a small way Lewis’s life and legacy through my own novels The Oxford Chronicles.
One of my favorite aspects of Lewis’s writings is his ability to give us glimpses of heaven and engender a longing for it. As we remember C.S. Lewis today, I’ll close with his own words, ending The Last Battle from The Chronicles of Narnia: