The Elaboration Pt 2

This is the continuation of this post, and then this post.

I developed a deep and pure love for The Chronicles of Narnia when I was a child and my mum read the whole series to my brother Lucien and me. Lewis created a world that was more than captivating, that felt real. The stories felt deep and true, like real mythology.

I have a sense of something that I’ve never been fully able to grasp/explain/understand. I can see it in the distance but can’t get close enough to focus on the detail. It’s a sense of majesty and honour and depth and righteousness and beauty and rightness and glory and harmony and perfection… A sense of reality that is deeper than we can see, but that is implanted in us. It’s why we respond to to stirring scenes in movies, to stories about honour and sacrifice, to beauty in people and things. My understanding of all these concepts, and even the bigger thing behind them is due, in a large part, to the stories and world woven by Lewis. He seemed able to not only sense these ‘big’ things, but to show us glimpses of them.

There was a BBC version of four of the Narnia chronicles many years ago. It was lovely, and truly brought some of the most fun aspects of the series alive (in particular Tom Baker as Puddleglum) but it, quite naturally, could only work within a BBC budget and the technology constraints of its time, so, while it provided a taste, a visually-realised Narnia was not possible.

The current series is actually doing a remarkable job of presenting a beautiful and rich Narnian world that draws you in, and I have truly enjoyed the first two movies. HL and I went to see Prince Caspian a few days ago. It had been a long day at work for both of us and neither of us were really overly enthusiastic, but it was the final showing at the local cinema so…well, we dragged ourselves there.

The movie was as heart-lightening and engaging as I had hoped it would be, and we both were pleased that we’d gone. And this story could easily end there, but it doesn’t.

I have always found the concept of Jesus, being both fully man and fully God, difficult to grasp. I cope quite well with the the thought of a huge and mind-boggling Father God, but the complex interaction between the perfection of God and the humanness of Jesus I can’t quite fathom. It has always made me uncomfortable. I love Jesus deeply for his sacrificial love for me, and am so grateful, but I’ve always felt a bit distant. Songs and talk about our ‘friend’ Jesus have always left me a bit cold. And this has made me incredibly sad for many years, feeling such distance.

While I was watching Prince Caspian, however, Jesus tapped me on the shoulder. The depth and purity and complexity and joy of the relationship between Lucy and Aslan has always stirred such delight in me, and there was a scene in the movie where Lucy meets Aslan in a wooded glen that is alive with…I don’t know…’rightness’. Everything is working as it should be: trees step aside to let Lucy through; leaves dance in joy; sunlight dapples perfectly; the wood is one flawlessly interacting creation. And into Lucy’s experience with the wood steps Aslan.

She is beside herself with gladness to see him because he is her beloved friend. She has so much history with him, both joyful and dark, and that has made them very close. When he comes he brings righteousness and light and perspective and clarity and love. And it’s obviously apparent that he takes an equal delight in his friendship with her.

I felt my heart leap watching the two so happy to see each other, and at that moment Jesus told me that I didn’t have to grapple with the man-Godness of him, but that he would be Aslan to me. He would be was/is the being that I already understand through my long-term interaction with the kingdom of Narnia. Being able to recognise Jesus as ‘my own Aslan’ was a relief to my soul. If I can grasp the lion who ‘isn’t tame, but he’s good’, then I’ve already grasped the person of Jesus. Instead of feeling very distant he feels as though he’s never been far away. And I’m so grateful.

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