Further Up and Further In

Rev. Jordan Griesbeck is the Campus Minister at the University of Texas (Austin).

In The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis portrays our life with God as a journey “further up and further in.”

It is as hard to explain how this sunlit land was different from the old Narnia as it would be to tell you how the fruits of that country taste. Perhaps you will get some idea of it if you think like this. You may have been in a room in which there was a window that looked out on a lovely bay of the sea or a green valley that wound away among mountains. And in the wall of that room opposite to the window there may have been a looking-glass. And as you turned away from the window you suddenly caught sight of that sea or that valley, all over again, in the looking glass. And the sea in the mirror, or the valley in the mirror, were in one sense just the same as the real ones: yet at the same time they were somehow different — deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story: in a story you have never heard but very much want to know. The difference between the old Narnia and the new Narnia was like that. The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more. I can’t describe it any better than that: if ever you get there you will know what I mean. It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then he cried: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that is sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!”

He shook his mane and sprang forward into a great gallop — a Unicorn’s gallop, which, in our world, would have carried him out of sight in a few moments. But now a most strange thing happened. Everyone else began to run, and they found, to their astonishment, that they could keep up with him: not only the Dogs and the humans but even fat little Puzzle and short-legged Poggin the Dwarf. The air flew in their faces as if they were driving fast in a car without a windscreen. The country flew past as if they were seeing it from the windows of an express train. Faster and faster they raced, but no one got hot or tired or out of breath.

The Last Battle

Further up and further in. I think about this phrase all the time, because it captures our desire and goal for RUF: to see college students move further up and into RUF, so that they might move further up and into God and the Church.

How does this happen? There is an individual and a corporate dimension. Individually, students move “further up and further in” by connecting to the “means of grace”: especially prayer and the Scriptures. Corporately, students move “further up and further in” by identifying more and more with RUF: they start by a) “hearing of” RUF, then they b) “attend” RUF, then they c) “belong to” RUF, and eventually they d) “feel responsible for” RUF.

This semester, I’ve been encouraged by students who have begun to feel responsible for the health and well-being of RUF: We have a student who has become a leader in his fraternity and invites new faces to Large Group each week. We also have a sophomore girl who had no connection with RUF but now sings on our music team. 

Spring is a season of “further up and further in.” It is a joy to see light bulbs turn on for students, and to watch them sink deeper into Christ’s life and love for them.

“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens
and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
2 PETER 3:13 (ESV)