Church of England · Churches Together in Britain · Felixstowe · Lent · Narnia · Sermon

Of Mice & Marshwiggles – Day 2 – Turning

Of Mice & Marshwiggles – Day 2 – Thursday after Ash Wednesday – Turning

To Read:

Setting the Scene:   After meeting Aslan Lucy returns to her Sister and Brothers who decide to follow Aslan. Later on Susan speaks to her little sister.

‘Lucy,’ said Susan in a very small voice.

‘Yes?’ said Lucy.

‘I see him [Aslan] now. I’m sorry.’

‘That’s all right.’

‘But I’ve been far worse than you know. I really believed it was him – he, I mean – yesterday. When he warned us not to go down to the fir wood. And I really believed it was him tonight, when you woke us up. I mean, deep down inside. Or I could have, if I’d let myself. But I just wanted to get out of the woods and – and – oh, I don’t know. And whatever am I to say to him?’  

‘Perhaps you won’t need to say much,’ suggested Lucy.

Prince Caspian – Chapter Eleven – The Lion Roars (© C.S. Lewis)

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Setting the Scene:   At the founding of Narnia Aslan gives the gift of speech to the Narnians but warns them what might happen if they forget who gave them the gift of Narnia

‘Creatures, I give you yourselves,’ said the strong, happy voice of Aslan. ‘I give to you aslanforever this land of Narnia. I give you the woods, the fruits, the rivers. I give you the stars and I give you myself. The Dumb Beasts whom I have not chosen are yours also. Treat them gently and cherish them but do not go back to their ways lest you cease to be Talking Beasts. For out of them you were taken and into them you can return. Do not so.’

The Magician’s Nephew – Chapter Ten – The First Joke & Other Matters (© C.S. Lewis)

 

To Reflect:

‘Well, what have you got to say for yourself?’ How many times down the years have you heard another’s voice say those words to you? How many times have you perhaps said those words to another?

They are odd words are they not? After all what kind of answer do they demand? The questioner knows full well what has happened and perhaps just wants to make sure the perpetrator is really as bad as they thought they were! All this question produces is poor excuses and embarrassed mumblings. There has to be a better way to bring people home when they have drifted away.

For Susan her embarrassment at having to explain her faithlessness is wonderfully dissolved by the innocence and love of Lucy.

‘…….And whatever am I to say to him?’

‘Perhaps you won’t need to say much,’ suggested Lucy.

This reminds me of the love of the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. I imagine the younger son, ashamed at his actions and devastated at having wandered so far from home, rehearsing his words to answer the ‘What have you got to say for yourself?’ question. So he practices on the road home, ‘I will arise and go to my father and say…..’  Look again at the sequence of events in Luke Chapter 15. The poor boy doesn’t get a chance to say anything because his father is too busy smothering him with love and rejoicing in the resurrection of his son.

So too with us. Yesterday may have been a difficult day for some and Lent has only just begun! As we listen to the voice of the One who loves us best we will sometimes hear in His sighs and groans His sadness at our turning away and we, with Susan will wonder whatever we are to say to Him.

Take heart! Perhaps we ‘won’t need to say much’ and need only to rest in His love and there find healing. There will come a time when we will tell of our journey apart from Him. The Prodigal Son eventually got his words out, (after all Edmund Pevensie earlier in Prince Caspian had to explain why he did not have a magical gift from Aslan) but that is for later and will happen when we are ready for the deeper healing God offers.

For now listen and be loved, and learn to love others. Treat things gently and cherish them and determine not to go back to your old ways. Then the new birth, the wellspring that is the whole purpose of Lent, can begin to take root.

 

To Pray:

Agreeing to lose everything for you O Christ,
In order to take hold of you,
As you have already taken hold of us,
Means abandoning ourselves to the living God,
Centring our life on you, Christ Jesus,
Means daring to choose:
Leaving ourselves behind so as no longer to walk on two roads at the same time:
Saying no to all that keeps us from following you,
And yes to all that brings us closer to you,
And through you,
to those whom you entrust to us. 

Brother Roger of Taizé

In ‘The Book of a Thousand Prayers’ © Angela Ashwin – Compiler

 

To Do:

Use a prayer of confession sometime today in which you describe to God some of the things that have separated you from His love in the past year. Tell God only one thing at a time – and after each telling listen for God’s voice saying ‘I love you’. Be gentle with yourself if you do this, Lent is still young and we have much more time ahead to tell of our wrongs and hear of God’s love.

If you have an opportunity ask for prayer for healing – for sin makes us as sick as any disease – and in that prayer imagine the Father wrapping new clothes around you and welcoming you home.

Meditate on these words of Julian of Norwich:

The Master looks on his servant with pity not with blame,

© Andrew Dotchin 2018

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