The Sermon and the Lunch: C.S. Lewis On Family Life

C.S. Lewis once wrote a powerful essay about the family as a result of hearing a sermon on the same topic. He reflects on the family life of the minister and offers five principles for a Christ-centered home. This is an excerpt from that essay:

‘And so’, said the preacher, ‘the home must be the foundation of our national life. It is there, all said and done, that character is formed. It is there that  we appear as we really are. It is there we can fling aside the weary disguises of the outer world a be ourselves. It is there that we retreat from the noise and stress and temptation and dissipation of daily life to seek the sources of fresh strength and renewed purity…’

And as he spoke I noticed that all confidence in him had departed from every member of that congregation who was under thirty. They had been listening well up to this point. Now the shufflings and coughings began. Pews creaked; muscles relaxed. The sermon, for all practical purposes, was over; the five minutes for which the preacher continued talking were a total waste of time – at least for most of us.

Whether I wasted them or not is for you to judge. I certainly did not hear any more of the sermon. I was thinking; and the starting-point of my thought was the question, ‘How can he of all people?’ For I knew the preacher’s own home pretty well. In fact, I had been lunching there that very day, making a fifth to the Vicar and the Vicar’s wife and the so and daughter, who happened both to be on leave (from college). I could have avoided it, but the girl had whispered to me, ‘For God’s sake stay to lunch if they ask you. It’s always a little less frightful when there’s a visitor.’


Lewis went on to offer five principles for family life, which I will present in a forthcoming post next week.  (Stay Tuned)