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

Of Mice & Marshwiggles – Day 11 – Aslan

Of Mice & Marshwiggles – Day 11 – Aslan

To Read:

Setting the Scene:   The four Pevensie children have arrived together in Narnia for the first time. They meet Mr and Mrs Beaver who tells them about Aslan. 

‘Aslan a man!’ said Mr Beaver sternly. ‘Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.’

‘Ooh!’ said Susan, ‘I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.’

Unknown‘That you will, dearie, and no mistake,’ said Mrs Beaver; ‘if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else 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.’

‘I’m longing to see him,’ said Peter, ‘even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.’

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – Chapter 8

 

– What Happened After Dinner (© C.S. Lewis)

  

To Reflect:

In my more ‘impish’ moments when in discussions about gender issues in religion I often dig out a vague Old Testament quote to close the argument and like Mr Beaver proclaim that ‘God is not a man’ (Numbers 23.19). Nor, for that matter is God a lion… well not an ordinary lion anyway.

Aslan is not ordinary but is approachable, approachable yet not quite safe; not quite safe but good. In our continuing journey in Narnia we will find that Aslan is much more than these things as well. Just as the children are excited and inquisitive, apprehensive and expectant about meeting this mystery creature called Aslan, so part of our journey in faith is finding out day by day different things about the One who loves us best.

One of the things I find most surprising about God is that….God is surprising. Gerard Hughes’ famous book ‘God of Surprises’ always bears re-reading. In it Gerry unfolds from his own experience how his picture of God has grown and changed on the journey. I had the privilege of meeting Gerard Hughes when I worked at a school in Johannesburg and was (my apologies for labouring a point) surprised. He is just such an ordinary person yet at the same time such an alive person. He seemed to shrug off any suggestion that he might be someone special – when I met him he was just another techno-junkie with a bag of cables looking to borrow a modem connection – and, settling easily into conversation, was oh so comfortable with sharing his story and revealing to others this ‘Surprising God’.

In my journey with God, perhaps because I like to keep God in a box of my own design, I don’t find it easy to let myself be surprised by God. I do this because If God is more loving than I expect God to be then I perhaps have to give a little bit more of myself away that love. Perhaps I need to learn to be brave like Peter Pevensie and face up to my fear. Not my fear of God you understand, but my fear of being loved more than I expect to be loved. As I journey closer to God this Lent maybe I need to take these words to heart.

‘I’m longing to see him,’ said Peter, ‘even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.’

Is there anything stopping you from being surprised by God?

To Pray:

How can I tell of such love to me?
You made me in your image
and hold me in the palm of your hand,
your cords of love, strong and fragile as silk
bind me and hold me.
Rich cords, to family and friends,
music and laughter echoing in memories,
light dancing on the water, hills rejoicing.
Cords that found me hiding behind carefully built walls
and led me out,
love that heard my heart break and despair and rescued me,
love that overcame my fears and doubts and released me.
The questions and the burdens I carry you take,
to leave my hands free – to hold yours, and others,
free to follow your cords as they move and swirl in the breeze,
free to be caught up in the dance of your love,
finding myself in surrendering to you.
How can I tell of such love? How can I give to such love?
I am, here am I.

Catherine Hooper

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

  

To Do:

If God ‘is not a man’ or even ‘an ordinary lion’, then who is God for you?

Make a list of the different images of God you know from:

The Bible
The writings and tales of others
Your own experience.

Say ‘Thank you’ for all the different ways in which God has been revealed to you and make a decision to be open to experience new visions of God in your future journey.

 

 

© Andrew Dotchin 2018

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