Narnia

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Not By Might

In Prince Caspian I think  the Pevensie children and Reepicheep  show how God anwers our prayers in unexepected ways someimes. When Queen Susan’s horn is sounded, Trumpkin assumes that the call will bring great warriors, not children or heaven forebid… mice! How in Narnia will such a desperate war be won with such puny reinforcements?   You know the answer right?  Just read the next three texts!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. ( Isaiah 55:8)

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1Corinthians 1:27)

I can do everything in [Christ] who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:1)

The children already know from previous experience that Aslan is not a “safe” lion. They have also learned that he is not predictable or controllable. The air of Narnia “works” on the children enabling them to “mature” again into “adults”—and strengthening them for the task to which they have been called. 

 In this unconventional way Aslan wins the battle for Narnia and in the same way He wins the battle in our world.  Just look at what is engraved on Dustin’s sword—“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit…”

 

The Inner Journey

There is a world beyond our vision…a world that we can only enter if we dare to entertain impossible possibilities.   In The Chronicles of Narnia we are invited into this invisible world.  In entering, we embark upon an inner journey to find out who we are and what we can do.  (To quote Pink Panther!)

 We see ourselves in the different children or characters as they make good or bad choices and consequently we face difficult realities about ourselves.  Sometimes those realities can be dark, violent, and almost unbearable but, if we choose to face these things, we will find out some pretty interesting and exciting things about ourselves along the way.

 The deep questions of life cannot be answered on the surface.  We can only hope to experience resolution to the troubles and stress of living in this world as we open up to a deeper reality.  Our peace in this world depends largely upon our willingness to embrace the possibility of realities that transcend this world.  (The transcendent cause?  Sound familiar?)  In The Narnia Chronicles, C.S. Lewis invites us to embrace this possibility.

 This Narnian journey takes us beyond our five senses into a land of mystery, wonder, and “magic.”   To refuse to enter upon this inner journey is to never find our true selves or discover the best in us—to fall back into endless winter and never step into the spring that is eternity.  CS Lewis said,

 “To be sure, it feels wintry enough still: but often in the very early spring it feels like that…the spring comes down slowly down this way; but the great thing is that the corner has been turned.  There is, of course, this difference, that in the natural spring the crocus cannot choose whether it will respond or not.  We can.  We have the power either of withstanding the spring, and sinking back into the cosmic winter, or of going on into these ‘high mid-summer pomps’ in which our leader, the Son of Man, already dwells, and to which he is calling us.  It remains with us to follow or not, to die in this winter, or to go on into that spring and that summer.”

 In the end, though, the inner journey is about knowing God.  Remember what Lucy sobbed out to Aslan? "It isn't Narnia, you know. It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live never meeting you?" Of course Aslan told them that He is in our world too. "But there I have another 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."

If you think about, isn't the inner journey with God in this world so much like the world of Narnia? It is such an intangible, magical and thrilling experience!

I think that is what Peter was referring to in Prince Caspian when he said, "It's all rather different from what I thought. You'll understand when it comes to your last time...."

 And that, really, is what Narnia is all about—to teach us about this inner journey that we can take with Aslan.  Isn’t it great?!?!!

 The Silver Chair of Temptation

I just finished reading The Silver Chair.  Of all the things that CS Lewis talks about in this great book, guess what I noticed the most?  Temptation.

 I bet you could give me a few examples if I was quizzing you.  Hmmmmm…lets see:

Jill is tempted to show off and not to trust Aslan…

Eustace and Jill are tempted to quarrel with each other and do
Caspian is tempted to kill Drinian....
Rilian is seduced/tempted by the green witch....as are Jill and Eustace...
Jill is tempted not to repeat or look for Aslan's signs....

 That is just some of the obvious ones.

Most of the time the characters succumb to temptation/seduction but in the process Lewis brings up a lot of great examples to help us understand it and things to help us resist it.

Of course the whole story is really about the seduction/temptation of Rilian by the Lady of the Green Kirtle, the Queen of Underland..  Since the green witch took the form of a beautiful lady I imagine he was tempted by lust.  She held him as an absolute slave for 10 years.  (The devil can do that to us too with lust as well as a lot of other evils!!)   Even though he would come to his senses every night for an hour, he was still held so strongly by the witch that he couldn’t break free.

 Each of them in Narnia was tempted in different ways.  Can you think of ways that you have been tempted?  Why was the witch’s seduction and enchantment so powerful?  What was her strength?

 She was so powerful that she held Rilian and the gnomes for many years. But it is so curious to me that she was so relatively easily killed once the truth was exposed!   It seems that her great power was mostly in her deception... her lies.  (Remember?  There is no sun….there is no Narnia…there is no Alsan…)

 She really didn’t have much power over them outside of that.  She was a paper tiger, just like satan, that really didn’t have any power at all, except in her lies.

How did they attempt to overcome her enchantment?   Rilian couldn’t do it by himself could he?  He tried to overcome the spell by crying out for help…he needed others to help him.  And even all of them together couldn’t overcome her could they?  They tried to overcome her by speaking the truth about Narnia, about the sun and about Aslan….right?  But sometimes we need even a little bit more motivation than the truth.

 How did Puddleglum finally overcome the green witch’s enchantment that just about got them?  Do you remember what Puddleglum did?  He stamped the coals with his bare feet! And in the end it was pain that broke the spell.  Lewis says that the pain itself made Puddleglums head perfectly clear.  Unfortunately a lot of times pain is what it takes for us to break free from satan’s lies. 

Of course, burnt Marshwiggle is not at all an enchanting smell either!!!

Then Puddleglum told the witch off (which didn’t make her happy!  But totally brought everyone else around!) in one of my favorite quotes in the book:

"Suppose... suppose we have only dreamed and made up these things like sun, sky, stars, and moon, and Aslan himself. In that case, it seems to me that the made-up things are a good deal better than the real ones. And if this black pit of a kingdom is the best you can make, then it's a poor world. And we four can make a dream world to lick your real one hollow. As for me, I shall live like a Narnian even if there isn't any Narnia. So thank you very much for supper. We're going to leave your court at once and make our way across your great darkness to search for our land above!"
~ Puddleglum ~ The Chronicles of Narnia - The Silver Chair

 The Silver Chair is an amazing and wonderful story and a Christian classic.  No child should miss reading it.  It teaches the truth about satan in ways that most other books can’t.    Isn’t Narnia absolutely awesome?!?!!!!