Seek the Peace and Prosperity of the City in which I have placed you.
וְדִ רְ שׁוּ אֶת-שְ ׁלוֹם הָעִיר, אֲשֶ ׁר הִגְלֵיתִ י אֶתְ כֶם שָ ׁמָ ּה, וְהִתְ פַּלְלוּ בַעֲדָ הּ, אֶל-יְהוָה: כִּי בִשְ ׁלוֹמָ הּ, יִהְיֶה לָכֶם שָ ׁלוֹם ז
I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
אני אומר לכם את האמת מה שאתה לא אחד לפחות של אלה של אלה של האחים שלי, אתה עשה ל
J. R. R. Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor who wrote, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He and his close friend C. S. Lewis were both members of the literary discussion group the Inklings, associated with The University of Oxford. The group met regularly for nearly two decades throughout the 1930s and 40s. C.S. Lewis’ works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies.
Lewis wrote a series of children’s books, The Chronicles of Narnia which have recently been made into three blockbuster movies by Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox. I confess that I ﬁrst read the series at the age of 30 and have re-read them several times since then. In Lewis’ story, four children are magically trapped in a world where the battle over good and evil is being played out and ultimately won through the children with the help of Aslan, who represents God in the world of Narnia.
Throughout the entire series Lewis introduces his audience to the God that he knows and loves through the concept of a children story. Millions, including myself, have been amazed by Lewis’ simplistic understanding of God and His way, but he also had a great impact on the culture of his day through lectures, sermons, and papers.
“There are no ordinary people,” C. S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis spoke of the weight of glory within each human soul, when he addressed the Oxford University Church in 1941. “There are no ordinary people,” he said. “You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit. Few of us have had someone physically knock on our door asking for food and water. But all of us have had someone knock on our door.”
Also in 1941, Lewis preached a sermon in Oxford at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, “If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, ‘Unselﬁshness.’ But if you had asked Christ of the Gospels, He would have replied, ‘Love.’ You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of unselﬁshness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence was the important point and not the care for others. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love.”
“Few of us have had someone physically knock on our door asking for food and water. But all of us have had someone knock on our door.” C. S. Lewis
The Mid-South is one of many mere mortal places that is occupied by immortals, and to paraphrase Lewis, it is those immortals that we drive the streets with, work with, shop with, celebrate sports with, worship with, and eat barbeque with as we educate and raise our families. It is our relationships with our fellow immortals that will determine whether Memphis is just another mortal City or a City destined to rise above the mere mortal status. Trending on Facebook is the question, “Is Memphis the Next Hot Southern City,” Downtown is booming and if it was a suburb, it would be one of the fasted growing in the South.
We can be the “Next Hot Southern City” and still be just another mere mortal place, or we can be a City built on love for our fellow immortal and if we are, we won’t care if Memphis is the “Next Hot Southern City,” because we will be the City that all others envy.