Narnia's Got it All!
- Friday, November 22, 2013
Growing up, I thought I had everything a kid could want—loving parents, good friends, great experiences. But in my twenties, on an airplane, I realized I’d missed out on something wonderful, something magical. That something I was now holding in my hands: a copy of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the first published volume of The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.
Here was a set of children’s stories that even as an adult stirred my imagination and my faith in brand new ways. And my enchantment with Narnia has not worn off. I relive the experience every time I read them with my daughters.
At times, I’m drawn into Narnia when I least expect it. In April of 2012, when Chuck Colson went home to be with the Lord, I was struggling, and yes, wiping away tears, as I attempted to write a BreakPoint commentary about my dear friend and mentor.
What kept coming to mind were the concluding words from “The Last Battle,” the final book in the Narnia series. For Chuck, like for the Pevensie children, death wasn’t the end, but rather “only the beginning of the real story… Now at last, [Chuck was] beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
What is it about Narnia that’s so special, so magical, so wonderful, so memorable?
As Chuck pointed out years ago, it’s the Gospel, from creation to redemption to consummation, smuggled (that’s Lewis’s word) into our imaginations, into our children’s imaginations, through beautiful storytelling.
In Narnia, as Chuck said, “we find talking beasts, dwarfs and giants, and even talking trees and river gods. Narnia is ruled by a majestic lion called Aslan, an allegorical representation of Christ. An evil White Witch representing Satan holds Narnia prisoner by keeping the land in perpetual winter—at least, until Aslan offers himself to be sacrificed, thereby lifting the long curse over Narnia.”
In Narnia, as Joe Rigney, author of “Live Like a Narnian,” told me on “BreakPoint This Week,” Lewis has created a complete and total world that helps us live better in this world. You can visit Narnia, and when you come back, Rigney told me, “You’re different. You’re not the same person, because you swam Narnian seas, and you walked across a Narnian countryside, and you’ve had Narnian adventures. And because of that, you are more like a Narnian . . . meaning you live more like Jesus.”
So folks, if your kids haven’t read The Chronicles of Narnia yet, find a way to make it happen.
And how about you? You’ll find much to love in Narnia also. Because, as I mentioned Wednesday on BreakPoint, much of Lewis’s theological content can be found personified in his fiction. It’s true of his space trilogy, and it’s certainly true in Narnia. In fact, I dare say if you were reading Narnia on your own, you could take a pen and underline points that Lewis wrote about in “Mere Christianity,” the “Weight of Glory,” or “The Abolition of Man,” (in fact, I can almost hear the professor in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” saying, “Bless me, what do they teach [children] at these schools?”)
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