Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
The Lion of Narnia
Dr Alex Tang
C.S.Lewis said, “Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as He became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen.” Thus the chronicles were created. It is a series of seven books about the adventures of six children (Peter, Edmund, Susan, Lucy, Eustace and Jill) who entered Narnia through a wardrobe in the attic of the house where they were staying. Narnia is a land of talking beasts and walking trees. When Mr. Beaver first explained to the children about Aslan the lion in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Susan and Lucy wondered whether it is safe to approach the lion. “Who said anything about safe?” answers Mr. Beaver. “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. And He’s the King, I tell you.” In the course of the story, Aslan sacrificed himself for Edmund and was resurrected echoing the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia, centuries has passed on Narnia while the children returned to England. The land has forgotten Aslan and was ruled by evil Miraz. The children were summoned to restore the rightful king, Caspian to the throne and bring back the Old Narnia of talking beasts and walking trees.
The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader” is a sea adventure. Caspian set sail to find the seven Narnian lords who sailed to explore the Eastern seas. Edmund, Lucy and their cousin Eustace joined them on this sea voyage. Reepicheep, a mouse came along on a more mystical quest- to find Aslan beyond the dawn. It is in essence ‘a spiritual journey’ of Reepicheep.
The Horse and His Boy is about two runaway children- a peasant named Shasta and a princess named Aravis escaping to the north to Narnia. In the story the two runaways and their talking horses were driven together by Aslan who also comforted Shasta at the tombs. Aslan helped them to defeat the invaders of Narnia.
In the next book, The Silver Chair, Eustace and Jill were commissioned by Aslan to rescue Rilian, Caspian’s son who was abducted. They have to go to the Underworld to rescue him.
The Last Battle sounded like something from the book of Revelation. It is in the last days of Narnia, a false Aslan (actually a donkey covered in a lion’s skin) had taken over the land. Again the children, Eustace and Jill arrived to help. This time, even they could not redeem the land. Aslan destroys Narnia and it ends in ‘a rising sea and winter cool’. The next morning, a new Narnia arises where everyone’s final destiny was revealed for eternity and those who are good is rewarded.
The Magician’s Nephew was written later to explain the creation of Narnia. That’s why it is listed first in the chronicles even though it was written last. Again there is echo of the book of Genesis. Narnia began as a dark void, until a Voice began to sing and creation began. Aslan calls certain animals and set them apart from other. Those who are called, responds, “Hail, Aslan. We hear and obey. We are awake. We love. We think. We speak. We know.”
Lewis is adamant that these fantasy children stories are not allegories. Instead it is children stories. Yet the Christian belief of C.S.Lewis shines through in these stories. ‘Aslan is not a tame lion’ is the thread that binds the series together. What can we learn from these 50 years old stories?
One thing I learnt is that our God is not a ‘tamed’ God. He is the great ‘I am.’ He is an awe-some God, striking fear in those who approach Him yet He is also love, taking care of our smallest wounds. We must always be mindful that we do not put Him in a box and recreate Him in our own image. He is the Lion of Judah.
Another thing I learnt is the power of stories. Each of us is living a wonderful story- a story full of adventures and dangers. Yet throughout our stories, if we search carefully, we see that God has always been with us. Like Aslan, God may appear in different forms but He is present all the time and He is orchestrating, behind the scenes, all the events in these wonderful stories of our lives. That is why I love listening to other people’s stories and reading biographies. It reveals God intervening in our lives, forming and transforming us.
Finally I learnt about what a privilege it is to be called and set aside by God for His glory. As the children in the Chronicles felt a special kinship with Aslan and all his created creatures, I too sense a special kinship with God and all my brothers and sisters in Christ (everyone from creation to eternity). It is a good feeling to belong to something that is bigger than me.
The Chronicles of Narnia is a reflection of life on earth. And here we, like the children Peter, Edmund, Susan, Lucy, Eustace and Jill, should take an active part in the greatest adventure of our lives. Don’t wait for the movie. Live it now.
Soli Deo Gloria
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