Un-Dragon Your Life: A Sermon from the Dawn Treader
- Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Those that have been through a divorce in their lives know that marriage has changed them in some way. Regardless of whose fault it is or why two people separated, marriage changes a man and a woman forever, and this is why the pain of separation is inevitable.
In this instance, Jesus teaches us that God forgives the mistakes of our past. Other people may not be as willing or quick to forgive, but God is always willing. And He will keep His promise to give us the grace, mercy, and strength to let go of the past, begin healing the wounds of separation, and move forward with life.
So I grew up in Indiana, about an hour north of Indianapolis, in a farm town where my dad was the pastor of a little church. We lived in a house next door to the church. My mom played the organ and directed the choir. On holidays, he would decorate the whole church; he even set up a haunted house before Christians got uptight about Halloween! I recall playing army, roller skating, putting frogs in the baptistery. I loved church.
When I was in Jr. High, my church had a split; the two sides did not get along with one another, and my dad got caught in the middle. I had never seen my dad cry until he came home from a church meeting and laid his head down on the table, emotionally beaten down and discouraged. From that day on, everything somehow changed for me. I rebelled.
So, all through high school, I did everything I could get my hands on - smoked, drank, and got involved in sexual activity. Even though I was in church every Sunday, I didn't feel guilty about it - well, not guilty enough to stop or change my ways.
When it was time to go to college, I chose this little Christian liberal arts college down in Tennessee, not because it was Christian based, but because it was 500 miles from my parents (not to mention that the drinking age in TN was 19). I partied my first year away, and by the beginning of my Sophomore year, I was on every probation my college offered: academic, disciplinary, you name it.
And then, I met Robin, who is now my wife. You see, she was a Christian, a real one. She didn't get drunk. I did. She didn't smoke anything. I did. She did know how to kiss (really well). But, in order to be with Robin, I had to start going to church with her. I thought to myself, "Oh no, I moved down here so I wouldn't have to do that." I didn't like church anymore, but I really liked her, so I agreed to start going back to church.
We'd been going there for a few weeks, and the pastor was the best storyteller I ever heard. I never heard anyone weave life and Jesus together like this guy was able to do.
So, one day, I'm sitting in the front row beside Robin and the pastor begins to tell a story by C.S. Lewis from his novel, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It was about a boy named Eustace, who was a good boy, but over time, he thought dragon thoughts, and did dragon things, and he eventually turned into a dragon, which was fun for a while. Sure he could fly and start campfires, but it was lonely being a dragon.
One day, Eustace the dragon was walking through the forest when he encountered the great lion, Aslan. Aslan told Eustace to follow him, and Eustace followed him through the mountains to a pool of water. He wanted to get in, but the lion told him that he first, must get undressed. He started peeling off his dragon scales, only to discover layer upon layer underneath.
Aslan offered to remove Eustace's scales, so Eustace let him. Aslan clawed deep into his chest and started tearing away the flesh. It hurt worse than anything, but he stood strong and watched his dragon scales come off. Finally, Aslan reached down, picked up Eustace, and threw him into the pool of water. When Eustace came up for air, he was a boy again; he had been "un-dragoned."
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