Of Mice & Marshwiggles – Easter Day – Farewell to the Shadowlands
Setting the Scene: The Last Battle, of all the Chronicles of Narnia, is the one which by Lewis own admission ‘pulls no punches’ in its allegory of the Christian journey. At its end Aslan speaks to all the children who have returned to Narnia.
‘You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.’
Lucy said, ‘We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.’
‘No fear of that,’ said Aslan. ‘Have you not guessed?’ Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.
‘There was a real railway accident,’ said Aslan softly. ‘Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.’
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
The Last Battle – Chapter 16 – Farewell to Shadowlands (© C.S. Lewis)
Only in the minds of the Inklings, gatherings over pints of ale in the Bird and the Babe in Oxford on their journeys into the world of ‘faerie’, would a disastrous accident on British Rail become a cause for rejoicing!
Aslan speaks of all previous experience, even the magical world of Narnia, as living in the ‘Shadowlands’, a theme which Lewis develops in his other (supposedly) more theological writings.
Easter Day is the day when we have a glimpse of this new morning when dark shadowy dreams are over and the holidays have begun. When I read this I often weep with joy, as it reminds me that all that has hurt me in the past and frightens me about the future is but a shadow and even the best times are as nothing compared to what is to come.
Two words come to mind. One from the Scriptures.
‘So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.’
2 Corinthians 4.16-18
The other words were the motto used by David Watson during his extensive ministry of healing and became even more so as he his own death of an inoperable cancer.
‘The best is yet to be’ (in ‘Fear No Evil’)
Aslan begins this passage with the words ‘you do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be’. When the journey is hard and the road ahead is not clear remember that these are just The Shadowlands and, even the best and brightest moments we have known now, will be as nothing compared to ‘the eternal weight of glory’ that awaits us!
When I look into Your holiness,
when I gaze into Your loveliness,
when all things that surround become shadows in the light of You;
when I’ve found the joy of reaching Your heart,
when my will becomes enthrall’d in Your love,
when all things that surround become shadows in the light of You:
I worship You,
I worship You,
the reason I live, is to worship You.
Cathy and Wayne Perrin
in ‘The Book of a Thousand Prayers’ © Angela Ashwin – Compiler
May your Easter be full of joy!
© Andrew Dotchin 2018
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