Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Images of Faith and Discipleship in C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia (1)


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:  A Fallen World

Over the next seven weeks I explore the seven stories in The Chronicles of Narnia offering brief reflections on various images of faith and discipleship in the stories.  In them Aslan, the great lion, is what in Lewis’ imagination Christ would have been like had been incarnated in Narnia.  The various creatures and their diverse responses to Aslan are also what faith and discipleship (and their opposites) look like in Narnia.  Thus we will read these stories with an eye to what these images might say to us who seek to follow Jesus in our own world.

We begin with the first of these stories (in their published order), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy (from oldest to youngest) find their way into the magical land of Narnia through a magical wardrobe in an old professor’s home during the bombing of London in World War II.  The land is snow-wrapped in winter.  But this is no ordinary winter as the children soon learn.  An evil white witch has Narnia in her control (how this happens we discover in a later story) and she has enchanted the land so that it is “Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!” as the faun Tumnus tells Lucy on her first visit to Narnia (p. 19 Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition).




          What an apt image for communicating the reality and impact of life in a fallen world!  Always winter – cold, gray, drab, bare; but never Christmas – joy, brightness, abundance, light.  This image strikes home with both children and adults – anyone for whom Christmas has been a special time of celebration.  The emptiness exacerbated by perpetual longing – that’s life in a fallen world:  “Always winter but never Christmas”!

          Tomorrow we’ll look at how greed enslaves Edmund and endangers Narnia.

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