Opera lovers mourned the passing of Luciano Pavarotti this week, but we readers (some of whom, no doubt, also love opera) now must say farewell to Madeleine L’Engle and celebrate her life and work. L’Engle’s Newberry Award-winning novel A Wrinkle in Time was one of the first books my parents gave me (after Lewis’s Narnia chronicles), and at one time or another in middle-school, high school, or college, I read many of her other books, including her advice to writers.
In a 1995 writing workshop at Vancouver School of Theology, L’Engle said
a writer’s responsibility is to radiate hope, to bring healing, to say yes to life. Her works wrestle with the unanswerable questions of life and death, God and darkness. In Walking on Water, a superb book about how faith and art influence one another, L’Engle argues that there is a “chief difference between the Christian and the secular artist-the purpose of the work, be it story or music or painting, is to further the coming of the Kingdom, to make us aware of our status as children of God, and to turn our feet toward home.”
Madeleine L’Engle should be remembered for doing just that through her writing. May she rest in God’s eternal light.