|And Now, For Something Completely Different|
I generally try to stay away from blogging about things theological--mostly because I'm wildly unqualified to talk about things theological. But every once in a while something comes onto the radar screen that leaves an impression.
When The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe came out six weeks ago, I thought to myself "Hey, it's been since 4th grade--why not re-read The Chronicles again." And so I have been.
By the way, as an aside, my wife and children begged me to see the movie again today . . . for the THIRD TIME! And, of course, having already cleaned the house and done all important things domestic, I agreed. There are far worse things I could drop the money on than seeing this fine movie again. And, as a further aside, six weeks after release, the theater was still half-full, and I would guess 80-85% adult movie-goers without children.
But back to my story . . .
I just finished the fifth book in the series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And it ends with this dialogue (which I am reproducing, hopefully not in terrible violation of copyright):
And of course, as it always does in a perfectly flat place without trees, it looked as if the sky came down to meet the grass in front of them. But as they went on they got the strangest impression that here at last the sky did really come down and join the earth--a blue wall, very bright, but real and solid: more like glass than anything else. And soon they were quite sure of it. It was very near now.
But between them and the foot of the sky there was something so white on the green grass that even with their eagles' eyes they could hardly look at it. They came on and saw that it was a Lamb.
"Come and have breakfast," said the Lamb in its sweet milky voice.
Then they noticed for the first time that there was a fire lit on the grass and fish roasting on it. They sat down and ate the fish, hungry now for the first time for many days. And it was the most delicious food they had ever tasted.
"Please, Lamb," said Lucy, "is this the way to Aslan's country?"
"Not for you," said the Lamb. "For you the door into Aslan's country is from your own world."
"What!" said Edmund. "Is there a way into Aslan's country from our world too?"
"There is a way into my country from all the worlds," said the Lamb; but as he spoke, his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane.
"Oh, Aslan," said Lucy. "Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?"
"I shall be telling you all the time," said Aslan. "But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder. And now come; I will open the door in the sky and send you to your own land."
"Please, Aslan," said Lucy. "Before we go, will you tell us when we can come back to Narnia again? Please. And oh, do, do, do make it soon?"
"Dearest," said Aslan very gently, "you and your brother will never come back to Narnia."
"Oh, Aslan!" said Edmund and Lucy both together in despairing voices.
"You are too old, children," said Aslan, "and you must begin to come close to your own world now."
"It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"
"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.
"Are--are you there too, Sir" said Edmund.
"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
Those few highlit phrases stuck out to me. It is amazing to me that a writer of a children's tale--no matter how gifted an author C.S. Lewis is--would put into such clear terms a Gospel message that not only is understandable to children, but which resonates with adults.
And, the line "know me by another name" conjured up for me a childhood memory--the words of a song. "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me." Makes me think very hard about just how many times in every day we all meet "Aslan." Is he our priest or pastor? Is he the smiling face of an innocent three-year old? Is he the troubled face of a mother at her wit's end in the check out line at the grocery store? Or perhaps the lonely face of the angry boy dressed in black riding his bike up the street?
Just something to think about.
Told you I was unqualified--fortunately, Lewis is supremely rich material.