Friday, February 22, 2013

Screwtape's Old Tricks

Last Sunday, I preached at Highland Park. For that sermon on Patience, I wrote a new letter describing what C.S. Lewis' demon characters Screwtape and Wormwood are up to now. Here's the letter below and also the link to find my sermon online.

It’s easy to be patient, when you’re in control.

My dear Wormwood,

It’s been far too long since I last wrote. Since our tutelage ended, I have closely followed your illustrious career. I remain impressed with your creative and numerous efforts to advance our cause. I must admit to the bursting pride for you, my famous pupil, as I regale your unparalleled victories to those who know that it was I that instructed you. Your ability to convince your Assignments that comfort is a sign of their development is nothing short of genius, AND I might add the perfect culmination of the very lessons of which I imparted to you. I truly taught you well.

You are to be commended. Your most recent Assignment has methodically eliminated from her life anything that might produce the fruit she desires. That fruit is something that we want to, dare I say, MUST avoid. And the Assignment before her, has crippled himself by evading suffering, pain and trouble in a deluded attempt to avoid the very battle for which he longs.

Through the practice of not requesting the enemy’s assistance, they are become more and more defenseless and farther from the hope of which they originally desired. They have become like mice in a serpent’s cage. Destined to become our prize meal.

Alas, I have more to say than just glowing accolades of your fine body of work. There are pockets in this world that have uncovered the notion that if they ask their leader for the tools of the Fruit of his spirit, He will come to their rescue. Things like joy, peace and patience, among others. All of which, are potent enough to knock even a celebrated tempter like you off of your high perch. In their distress, they call out, realizing they aren’t alone in this war. Their leader comes to their rescue every time, but we have to throw everything at them so that they forget this truly battle changing fact.

It is therefore imperative that we deflect their attention from their leader, so that once more they will become like a solitary wounded antelope in the Serengeti, just waiting for the assumed fate of death by ravaging. Strategically, we ought to encourage their assumed slights and vengeful wrath which completely distorts their vision, ruins their witness and disrupts their tasks of inviting others.

The real delusion is that they think they won’t know suffering if they do not ask to be trained in these areas of improvement. In this world, there will be pain and sorrow no matter to what side of the war they belong. It is flawed thinking that nothing bad will ever happen to them if they avoid the fight. This flawed understanding is precisely what we want them to continue to think.

And now my request. My hope is that you might join us at the University to train those tempters unequipped and ignorant in the best methods for fighting the battle of today. I implore you to reply immediately for time is of the essence. Even now, our chances for advancement are slipping, but not without reach. However, if word gets out, the powerless will become wise to the resources at their disposal provided by their leader. And the efforts being made against us in certain parts of the world will become the norm rather than the exception.


Your Uncle Screwtape