Of Mice & Marshwiggles – Day 40 – Life after Life
Setting the Scene: At the end of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader Lucy, Edmund and Eustace have left the ship and follow what they think is the way to Aslan’s Country.
But between them and the foot of the sky there was something so white on the green grass that even with their eagles’ eyes they could hardly look at it. They came on and saw that it was a Lamb.
‘Come and have breakfast,’ said the Lamb in its sweet milky voice.
Then they noticed for the first time that there was a fire lit on the grass and fish roasting on it. They sat down and ate the fish, hungry now for the first time for many days. And it was the most delicious food they had ever tasted.
‘Please, Lamb,’ said Lucy, ‘is this the way to Aslan’s country?’
‘Not for you,’ said the Lamb. ‘For you the door into Aslan’s country is from your own world.’
‘What!’ said Edmund. ‘Is there a way into Aslan’s country from our world too?’
‘There is a way into my country from all the worlds,’ said the Lamb; but as he spoke his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane.
‘Oh, Aslan,’ said Lucy. ‘Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?’
‘I shall be telling you all the time,’ said Aslan. ‘But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder. And now come; I will open the door in the sky and send you to your own land.’
‘Please, Aslan,’ said Lucy. ‘Before we go, will you tell us when we can come back to Narnia again? Please. And oh, do, do, do make it soon.’ ‘
‘Dearest,’ said Aslan very gently, ‘you and your brother will never come back to Narnia.’
‘Oh, Aslan!!’ said Edmund and Lucy both together in despairing voices.
‘You are too old, children,’ said Aslan, ‘and you must begin to come close to your own world now.’
‘It isn’t Narnia, you know,’ sobbed Lucy. ‘It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?’
‘But you shall meet me, dear one,’ said Aslan.
‘Are, are you there too, Sir?’ said Edmund.
‘I am,’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.’
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Chapter 16 – The Very End of the World (© C.S. Lewis)
‘This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.’
Sometimes during this journey ‘Through the Wardrobe’ I have felt that there is not very much I can add to Jack Lewis’ wonderful writings. Today is one such day.
All the signposts to Lewis’ understanding of the Christian Life are in this extract. Anyone may come close to God. God is known in many places by many names. To finally get home we will have a river to cross but a bridge has been provided. It is not about ‘where’ we meet God, be it Narnia or a special sacred place, but more about ‘that’ we meet God. The life of faith is a journey not a destination. And even, just in case we have not quite heard the message Aslan uses the name of God for himself and proclaims ‘I Am’.
This Lent has been, for me, busy and full and rich beyond my deepest expectations. During it, despite all the plans I had made (and the brief sickness I had not expected) God has been for me a faithful companion. I have met with Aslan in all his forms, Lion and Cat and Lamb, and I think have come to learn to hear his precious voice more clearly.
I have realised afresh what I have known and frequently told others, God is ever ready to tell us of his love for us but we are too often dull of hearing and dim of sight. Through this time I have found that he is indeed ‘The One who Loves us Best’ and I never ever want to leave his side.
So, like the children, I am more than a little distressed to be leaving Narnia and returning to the ‘common round’ – even if it is chock-full of the alleluias of Easter. Can’t we stay here forever? Can’t we rest on the mountain of transfiguration? Would it be too much to simply revel in the immediate presence of our Lord and never ever have to move on?
This time of turning aside has been wonderful; we have learned much of love, we have learnt to listen to our call, we have met fellow pilgrims, and found life after life. Today Aslan reminds us that this is not the end. God has not yet finished with us and there are many other roads to travel and tasks to begin. We have indeed, in this blessed time of Lent, come to ‘know him here’ now we are to return home and learn to ‘know him better’ wherever the call may lead us.
Dag Hammarskjold has the best words, ‘For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes!’ May the journey ahead bring you only joy!
i thank You God for this most amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happenings illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
in ‘The Book of a Thousand Prayers’ © Angela Ashwin – Compiler
Say ‘Thank You’. To God for the gift of life, to those who give you life, to those to whom you have given life.
© Andrew Dotchin 2018