How Hitler and a Boring Sermon Awakened C.S. Lewis’s Demons

How Hitler and a Boring Sermon Awakened C.S. Lewis’s Demons

If you’ve never read the Screwtape Letters before, I’d encourage you to grab a copy. The book consists of 31 letters from a senior demon Screwtape to his nephew, a junior demon, named Wormwood. This is arguably Lewis’s most influential work. You can read it in a month just doing one letter a day. They give powerful insights into what it feels like to be tempted in a fallen world and the glory that awaits believers on the other side. I’m staring a new podcast this month called “Mere Caffeination.”

It was a hot dry summer in 1940 in Oxford, England. That ended in July when the heavens opened up with deluge rainfalls. It must have been a wet Saturday evening when C.S. Lewis, the man who would take to speaking over the radio in the very near future, turned on his own radio on and tuned in to listen to an influential political speech. History was being made in more ways than one

“In looking back upon the last ten months we are all struck by the grace of Providence that has allowed us to succeed in our great work,” the speaker’s voice proclaimed through the crackly speakers. “Providence has blessed our great resolves and guided us in our difficult matters. As for myself, I am deeply moved, realizing that Providence has called on me to restore to my people their freedom and honor.”

Lewis admitted to being affected by the rhetoric. “I don’t know if I’m weaker than other people, Lewis said, “but it is a positive revelation to me how while the speech lasts it is impossible not to waver just a little.” Lewis wrote these words describing how it felt to hear what is described as Hitler’s last appeal to Britain to remove themselves from the war, before he promised to unleash Hell. Within a couple months it would be far more than rain falling from the English sky.

In his speech, Hitler claimed to be the voice of reason pleading for common sense. It was Churchill who was evil and illogical, Hitler claimed, referencing the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister no less than fourteen times in the address.

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