Of Mice & Marshwiggles – Day 1 – Ash Wednesday – Turning
Setting the Scene: At the beginning of Prince Caspian the Pevensie children try to make their own way to help Caspian but become lost as the road has changed since they were last in Narnia. Lucy hears Aslan calling her to follow the correct path but she chooses not to do so until he calls again one evening…
But for the movement of his tail he might have been a stone lion, but Lucy never thought of that. She never stopped to think whether he was a friendly lion or not. She rushed to him. She felt her heart would burst if she lost a moment. And the next thing she knew was that she was kissing him and putting her arms as far round his neck as she could and burying her face in the beautiful rich silkiness of his mane.
‘Aslan, Aslan. Dear Aslan,’ sobbed Lucy. ‘At last.’
The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all round her. She gazed up into the large wise face.
‘Welcome, child,’ he said.
‘Aslan,’ said Lucy, ‘you’re bigger.’
‘That is because you are older, little one,’ answered he.
‘Not because you are?’
‘I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.’
For a time she was so happy that she did not want to speak. But Aslan spoke.
‘Lucy,’ he said, ‘we must not lie here for long. You have work in hand, and much time has been lost today.’
‘Yes, wasn’t it a shame?’ said Lucy. ‘I saw you all right. They wouldn’t believe me. They’re all so -’
From somewhere deep inside Aslan’s body there came the faintest suggestion of a growl.
‘I’m sorry,’ said Lucy, who understood some of his moods. ‘I didn’t mean to start slanging the others. But it wasn’t my fault anyway, was it?’
The Lion looked straight into her eyes.
‘Oh, Aslan,’ said Lucy. ‘You don’t mean it was? How could I – I couldn’t have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I? Don’t look at me like that . . . oh well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?’
Aslan said nothing.
‘You mean,’ said Lucy rather faintly, ‘that it would have turned out all right – somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?’
‘To know what would have happened, child?’ said Aslan. ‘No. Nobody is ever told that.’
‘Oh dear,’ said Lucy.
‘But anyone can find out what will happen,’ said Aslan. ‘If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me – what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.’
‘Do you mean that is what you want me to do?’ gasped Lucy.
‘Yes, little one,’ said Aslan.
‘Will the others see you too?’ asked Lucy.
‘Certainly not at first,’ said Aslan. ‘Later on, it depends.’
‘But they won’t believe me!’ said Lucy.
‘It doesn’t matter,’ said Aslan.
………………..’ Now, child,’ said Aslan, when they had left the trees behind them, ‘I will wait here. Go and wake the others and tell them to follow. If they will not, then you at least must follow me alone.’
Prince Caspian – Chapter Ten – The Return of the Lion (© C.S. Lewis)
For me the biggest gift Lent brings each year is the opportunity to listen more closely to the voice of the One who loves us best. In Lent I can set aside the time to consciously put myself into God’s presence and listen for greater lengths of time and more deeply than I do during the rest of the year.
Sadly, like Lucy, it is difficult after having been absent from Narnia for some time, to hear God’s voice and change my path to follow him more closely. During the year, even though I have the privilege of proclaiming the gospel Sunday by Sunday, my hearing becomes dull and I find it difficult to listen to Him.
I am not sure why this happens. Perhaps I want to be n company with others instead of setting out to follow God’s voice by myself. Maybe during the year I simply get comfortable with the ‘common round’ and have not needed to stretch my devotional muscles. Perhaps, and this rings all too true, I am simply full of self-will and want to do what God wants but want to do what ‘I’ want as well. In which case both God and I lose…..
But when Lent comes, I have no excuse. God calls and I must follow, whether others will go with me or not.
They might not believe me, they may not share my enthusiasm, they may well be annoyed that for a season my routine changes (already some colleagues are trying not to be frustrated that Andrew has refused to attend meetings on Wednesday evenings in Lent!)
But that is OK.
The company of others is wonderful but it is as nothing when compared to the embrace of the Lion…
Dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
I hold up all my weakness to your strength,
my failure to your faithfulness,
my sinfulness to your perfection,
my loneliness to your compassion,
my little pains to your great agony on the cross.
I pray that you will cleanse me,
and hide me,
so that, in all ways, my life may be lived as you would have it lived,
and for you alone.
Mother Janet Stuart (1857-1914)
In ‘The Book of a Thousand Prayers’ © Angela Ashwin – Compiler
Decide what you will use this Lent to help remind you to listen to the voice of the One who loves you best.
Here are some ideas:
Place a favourite picture or a religious symbol (a cross or an icon) in an awkward place so that it will ‘get in the way’ each day during Lent and remind you to listen.
Buy a supply of small birthday cake candles and stop each day to light one and be quiet for the time it takes for it to burn down – try it, it works.
Use an egg timer – sand driven, clockwork or electronic – to give you a set time each day when you promise to do nothing other than listen to the voice of God.
Whatever you do – do something! God is always speaking to us; sadly we are not always willing to listen.
© Andrew Dotchin 2018