Aslan

There are moments that I feel ancient, worn out and weathered. A battlement of bad weather and disappointment has left this little vessel of simply 25 years a little worse for wear. But, in my mind…in that tiniest truest part, I’m about 8 years old. I really delight when she surfaces. The older I get it tends to be less and less, and therefore all the more sacred and precious. Whether it be the first tinge of winter reddening my nose, the sounds of the first seasonal carol sung, or an episode of Little House on the Prairie taking me back to a small cherished space as a child. Sometimes my “little” hands can’t help but jump into rapid applause as the laughter of that small child surfaces and I see through her eyes. I feel it most this time of year, and never more as I have begun to read the beloved series…the Chronicles of Narnia.

It is hard for me to imagine in all my 25 years I have never peeled back the cover and stepped into this magical world of wonder, snow, and magic. Where talking animals have deep and caring souls. Into a land that was literally sung into existence by a breathtaking powerful creature named Aslan. In the first few seconds of reading the first installment of this profound children’s series I realized that CS Lewis saw children not as inferior, but extremely intelligent and introspective souls. It is probably one of the most intelligent pieces of literature I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It is captivating moving and inspiring. You will feel like a small child when you read this series I assure you. It inspired me to buy CS Lewis’s “Letters to Children” where Mr. Lewis responds to children’s letters concerning the Chronicles of Narnia.

I shall try not to divulge too much information concerning these books. I’m only about half way through the third installment…”The Boy and His Horse”, but these books already deeply pulse through my very soul. If you are someone who simply cannot bear to hear anything that happens in books before you read them please stop right now. I just cannot contain myself from sharing some of my thoughts as the movie comes out. I’m filled with emotion concerning this film…I’m both excited and terrified at the same time to see it. (I’m going Monday December 12th after work!!)

The two characters that most resonate with me are Peter and Aslan. We will leave Peter for another time. I would like to take you on a journey if you will to the heart of a Lion named Aslan…

“Wrong will be right when Aslan comes in sight. At the sound of his roar sorrows will be no more. When he bares his teeth winter meets its death, and when he shakes his mane, spring shall come again.”

You first meet Aslan as he sings Narnia into existence in “The Magician’s Nephew”. Literally one of the most hair raising captivating other worldly experiences I have ever read within the pages of a book.

Mark Eddy Smith in the book “Aslan’s Call” states:

“I don’t know how long it took Lewis to ascertain the lion’s true identity, but while it may seem strikingly audacious for any author to introduce the God of all creation as a character in a children’s story, I like to make believe that it was the Lion of Judah himself who leaped into these stories of his own volition and for his own purposes, and that Lewis was wise enough to stand back and let him in.

By saying this I am not exactly pretending that the Chronicles of Narnia are the inspired Word of God, nor that we can put our faith in Aslan when our faith in Jesus falters. That such things are possible demonstrates that make-believe can be a dangerous game. All I know is that the words and actions of Aslan have a curious effect on me, almost as if he were speaking directly to me words of comfort, acceptance and challenge. When Lucy gains new strength by burying her face in Aslan’s mane and he says, “Now you are a lioness” (PC, chap. 10), the same sensation thrills through my body that I associate with the Spirit of God.”(Pg.11&12)

I have to say when I first met Aslan in “The Magician’s Nephew” I had that same since of awe and reverence. It was the same thrill and sensation described when Mr. Beaver mentions the name of Aslan to the children.

“An now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning – either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else as lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.” (P. 67-68, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

There is this indescribable feeling that wafts over you in the presence of this mythical Aslan. It is strange and real, and in my opinion allows you to more readily manifest who Christ is…we are taught, especially in today’s time about God’s love, but what about his Majesty, His Sovereignty, His Righteousness…He truly is both terrifying and wonderfully good.

One of the most profound and chilling statements for me concerning Aslan was when The Beaver’s and the children were discussing just who Aslan was and Susan says:

“Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

The Beaver responds:

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,”…”if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
(Pg. 79-80, The Lion, the Witch, the Wardrobe)

This sends shivers up and down my spine just typing it…Jesus isn’t safe…He is wild and unfettered. He is a consuming fire, a raging storm, and He commands with a mighty hand. But, oh, He is good…He is King…and the depth and reality of both these characteristics is humbling and inspiring. It makes me want to serve Him…oh it does.

“But as for Aslan himself, the Beavers and the children didn’t know what to do or say when they saw him. People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had ever thought so, they were cured of it now. For when they tried to look at Alsan’s face they just caught a glimpse of the golden mane and the great, royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn’t look at him and went all trembly.” (Pg. 126, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe)

You know one of the most powerful and heartbreaking truths I’ve discovered throughout my years, as a Christian is that our Lord and Savior desires a relationship with us. Just as we ache over the loss of separation due to the fall of Eden, so does our beloved Father, possibly even more…for He created us for companionship. He aches all over with it. It trembles in the rustle of the trees, it whispers across the expanse of the land, and haunts the mournful melody of a Nightingale’s song. It is powerful and all consuming and leaves me breathless…it also makes me realize how often I don’t head His call, how often I place Him on the backburner to pursue some other “worldly” action. When all He wants is to walk with me for a while…

“Are you ill, dear Aslan?” asked Susan.”

“No,” said Aslan. “I am sad and lonely. Lay your hands on my mane so that I can feel you are there and let us walk like that.”

And so the girls did what they would never have dared to do without his permission, but what they had longed to do ever since they first saw him – buried their cold hands in the beautiful sea of fur and stroked it and, so doing, walked with him.” (Pg. 150, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe)

Here is where those of you who don’t want too much information divulged to you might want to turn away…

When the evil Witch takes Aslan’s life the two girls are filled with sorrow. In the darkest hours of the night they seem at their weakest, but as the sun begins to rise, new mercies are poured out as Aslan rises from the dead. Then he does something that made me weep…He plays with Susan and Lucy…a game, a frolic…

“Oh, children,” said the Lion, “I feel my strength coming back to me. Oh, children, catch me if you can!” He stood for a second, his eyes very bright, his limbs quivering, lashing himself with his tail. Then he made a leap high over their heads and landed on the other side of the Table. Laughing, though she didn’t know why, Lucy scrambled over it to reach him. Aslan leaped again. A mad chase began. Round and round the hilltop he led them, now hopelessly out of their reach, now letting them almost catch his tail, now diving between them, now tossing them in the air with his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching them again, and now stopping unexpectedly so that all three of them rolled over together in a happy laughing heap of fur and arms and legs. It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind. And the funny thing was that when all three finally lay together panting in the sun the girls no longer felt in the least tired or hungry or thirsty.” (Pg. 163-164, The Lion, The Witch, The Wardrobe)

There was a great battle that was about to ensue and yet Aslan took time to play with the children. His heart delights over us…He wants to have fun with us, remind us of what it means to play. I found myself ever so jealous of Susan and Lucy when reading this for I longed with all my heart to be up on that hilltop the sun shining down on the magical Narnia as I danced and played with Aslan (Jesus)!

Finally, our beautiful Savior is not in the least bit tame…He is not like anything that His hands created, He is separate from us…His thoughts are not our thoughts and we cannot reckon ourselves to believe that we understand Him…He is Good, He is Terrifying, He is Beautiful…Oh so Beautiful is my Jesus:

“But amid all these rejoicings Aslan himself quietly slipped away. And when the Kings and Queens noticed that he wasn’t there they said nothing about it. For Mr. Beaver had warned them, “He’ll be coming and going,” he had said. “One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down – and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.” (Pg. 182, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe)

In closing I would like to leave you with what CS Lewis said about Aslan. I think you will find it just as profound as I did…

Aslan the Great Lion is a character in CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. Creator and ruler of Narnia, he appears in all seven books of the series. Throughout the series it is often repeated that he is “not a tame lion”, since, despite his gentle and loving nature, he is powerful and can be dangerous. He takes the role of a Christ-like figure, though according to Lewis he is not an allegorical portrayal of Christ, but rather a different incarnation of Christ himself:

If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality however he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, “What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?’ This is not allegory at all.

(Information taken from Wikipedia.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aslan)

On a side note Aslan is the Turkish word for lion!

For those who have read the series I would love your thoughts on what touched you when reading these powerful creations from an amazing gift. If you have seen the movie what do you think? If you haven’t picked up the series and read it yet…DO! It is wonderful. If you don’t read I encourage you to read these books…or at least see the movie!

Hail future Kings and Queens!

Narnia awaits us all!

May God keep you and hold you safely! (He is not safe or tame…Praise be!)

Comments

Carol said…
I've been through the whole series aloud twice since becoming a parent. Now the kids want to see the movie. Tonight. And they aren't letting up a smidge.

Guess what I'll probably be posting about tomorrow along with a huge chunk of the blogosphere.

And the books are amazingly great. Enjoy!
~Kat said…
You're sweet, Melissa - I'll let you know what I felt about the movie :)
marcia said…
mmm, it was a beautiful movie. as are your thoughts on the story.
Melissa said…
Thanks guys!
Danny Sims said…
We saw the movie this afternoon and LOVED it. You are so right about Aslan. I want to hug Him and must revere Him all at the same time.
~Kat said…
Saw the movie opening night - can't wait to talk to you about it.
Melissa said…
Thanks Danny for commenting...it is SO exciting to hear all the buzz around this film...

Kat...going tomorrow my dear let ya know!
Coy said…
I'm halfway through the Horse and his Boy as Well. Have loved them all. Saw the movie yesterday and was thrilled! It'll be a classic.
Becca said…
oh and by the way I got your letter *happy dance* and dont worry... a reply will come your way sometime over Christmas break *aka, starting tomorrow* YAY!
jettybetty said…
I hope to go see this movie next week--when all our (grown) kids get in--I can hard wait!
Jessica said…
Hi Melissa! Hope you are well. I can't hardly wait to see the Chronicles of Narnia. The books are so good...they do point to redemption and our amazing Savior!
Melissa said…
God bless you all!

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