Of Mice & Marshwiggles – Day 24 – Changing
Setting the Scene: Right at the very beginning of the Narnia stories Lucy meets Mr Tumnus – the little faun who really wanted to be better than his actions.
‘Oh – oh – you wouldn’t say that if you knew,’ replied Mr Tumnus between his sobs. ‘No, I’m a bad Faun. I don’t suppose there ever was a worse Faun since the beginning of the world.’
‘But what have you done?’ asked Lucy.
‘My old father, now,’ said Mr Tumnus; ‘that’s his picture over the mantelpiece. He would never have done a thing like this.’
‘A thing like what?’ said Lucy.
‘Like what I’ve done,’ said the Faun. ‘Taken service under the White Witch. That’s what I am. I’m in the pay of the White Witch.’
‘The White Witch? Who is she?’
‘Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb. It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!’
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – Chapter 2 – What Lucy Found There (© C.S. Lewis)
What are we to make of Mr Tumnus? He is the one who brings near disaster on the Pevensie’s before the story has even properly begun. He is, and quite rightly we may be tempted to think, turned into stone by the White Witch. But also he is the one who is the Pevensie’s most trusted adviser when they are finally reigning over Narnia from their thrones at Cair Paravel. How does this come about? Surely if there is any justice in the story Tumnus should have gone the way of Maugrim and all the other servants of the White Witch who made Narnia to be a land where it was ‘always winter and never Christmas’.
After all he was a traitor wasn’t he? But then what do we know about the reasons for his betrayal? For that matter what do we know about the reasons which drive anyone (including ourselves) to become less than faithful and deny and betray the One who Loves us Best?
Each of us must be careful as we follow the Gospel. After all is not each of us called to ‘walk by faith not by sight’? It is all too easy to slip into the world of seeing things our way instead of stepping out into the world of a faith which is often dark and unsure. But, as Teresa of Avila reminds us, ‘the darkness is the only safe place’.
What makes an honest traitor out of Mr Tumnus is that he, even in the moment of his betrayal, is penitent. Would that that this were our common experience? Would that the church would be full of people who knew their potential for failure and so be more ready to constantly turn towards the light? Would that we would be more ready to cry.
Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits thou hast won for me,
for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.
O Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may I know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly
and follow thee more nearly,
day by day.
St Richard of Chichester
In ‘The Book of a Thousand Prayers’ © Angela Ashwin – Compiler
Lent is often about seeking forgiveness – today turn it around and find someone to forgive.
What step of faith has God asked of you which you have not yet taken?
Weep with someone who regrets their deeds.
© Andrew Dotchin 2018