Of Mice & Marshwiggles – Day 20 – Meetings
Setting the Scene: On completing his task of using the magic apple to plant a tree to protect Narnia from the power of the witch Digory and Polly meet the first King and Queen of Narnia.
‘WELL done,’ said Aslan in a voice that made the earth shake. Then Digory knew that all the Narnians had heard those words and that the story of them would be handed down from father to son in that new world for hundreds of years and perhaps forever. But he was in no danger of feeling conceited for he didn’t think about it at all now that he was face to face with Aslan. This time he found he could look straight into the Lion’s eyes. He had forgotten his troubles and felt absolutely content.
‘Well done, son of Adam,’ said the Lion again. ‘For this fruit you have hungered and thirsted and wept. No hand but yours shall sow the seed of the Tree that is to be the protection of Narnia. Throw the apple towards the river bank where the ground is soft.’
Digory did as he was told. Everyone had grown so quiet that you could hear the soft thump where it fell into the mud.
‘It is well thrown,’ said Aslan. ‘Let us now proceed to the Coronation of King Frank of Narnia and Helen his Queen.’
The children now noticed these two for the first time. They were dressed in strange and beautiful clothes, and from their shoulders rich robes flowed out behind them to where four dwarfs held up the King’s train and four river nymphs the Queen’s. Their heads were bare; but Helen had let her hair down and it made a great improvement in her appearance.
But it was neither hair nor clothes that made them look so different from their old selves. Their faces had a new expression, especially the King’s. All the sharpness and cunning and quarrelsomeness which he had picked up as a London cabby seemed to have been washed away, and the courage and kindness which he had always had were easier to see. Perhaps it was the air of the young world that had done it, or talking with Aslan, or both.
The Magician’s Nephew – Chapter 14 – The Planting of the Tree
Perhaps it was the air of the young world that had done it, or talking with Aslan, or both.
Every so often we meet people who have been transformed by God and begin completely new lives or, in the case of King Frank and Queen Helen, lives that just needed the cobwebs blown away from them to reveal the true person underneath.
In the Acts of the Apostles when the newly Spirit-filled disciples stand before the Sanhedrin it is said of them;
…When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus (Acts 4.13)
Without wanting to make too many pejorative comments about Hansom Cab drivers in the streets of London during the writing of The Magician’s Nephew, some of them would be fairly described as ‘uneducated and ordinary’. And if you read his story more closely, especially his conversations with his horse Strawberry (transformed by Aslan into the winged pegasus Fledge) you will find someone who has had to learn to be rough and tough, pushing both man and horse to put food on the table and oats in the nose bag.
Life is hard and, unless we breathe fresh clean air and listen to pure clear voices we will find ourselves becoming harder as the years go by and people will see less and less of God within us. Which is why it is so refreshing for Polly and Digory to see the transformation in Frank and Helen, progenitors of the ancient kings and queens of Archenland and Narnia, in a re-newed glory despite all the toil of the years of their life in the ‘Old Smoke’.
It is wonderful to see new fresh and exciting faith in the life of a fellow worshipper, it is perhaps even more enriching to see the gentle well-worn grace of God in the lives of people who have spent a long time breathing Aslan’s air. There is much we can learn from those who have spent their lives being companions of Jesus.
I am reminded of the martyrdom of Polycarp of Smyrna who, when asked to renounce his Christian faith to his persecutors said:
‘I have been Christ’s servant for eighty-six years and he has done me no harm. Can I now blaspheme my King and my Saviour?’
Would that each of us was so used to breathing the air of God’s Spirit so that we would lead lives unclouded by this world and so become the kings and queens our God intended us to be from the very beginning.
Spirit of God,
Lord and Giver of Life,
moving between us and around,
like wind or water or fire;
breathe into us your freshness that we may awake;
cleanse our vision that we may see more clearly;
kindle our senses that we may feel more sharply;
and give us courage to live
as you would have us live,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
John V. Taylor
In ‘The Book of a Thousand Prayers’ © Angela Ashwin – Compiler
Look at your Christian family and give thanks to God for;
Someone whose faith is young, new and vibrant,
Someone whose faith has become clouded by the cares of this world
Someone whose faith is mature, confident and full of grace.
© Andrew Dotchin 2018