I began reading the Chronicles of Narnia nearly forty years ago, and I hate to admit it, but I haven’t finished them…yet. I bought the set when the kids were little, and still remember them sitting on my lap as we made it through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I knew they were classics, written by C. S. Lewis for children, but reading them was like trying to watch something on BBC. You know it’s good, but you have to struggle a bit to make sure you’re getting it all. We gave up after barely making it into the second book, and the boxed set languished on a shelf until a month or so ago.
It was a feature article entitled “The Breath of the Lion” in Touchstone that drew me back to Narnia. The author was responding to the charge that Lewis didn’t include the Holy Spirit in his stories. God was there as the Emperor-over-the-Sea, and Jesus is presented as the great Lion Aslan, but where is the Holy Spirit?
The author begins by noting that while the Holy Spirit’s presence and enormous power is evident throughout the Bible, he speaks only five times and remains in the background. He then makes it very clear that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in Narnia.
“He strengthens, he gives courage, he brings new life, he protects, and he motivates toward right performance. In his breath, he imparts the essence of himself to his followers, placing within them the only power that can enable them to become more like him.” While drawing his article to a close he notes, “Thus, a fantasy story shows us the truth. Narnia reveals to us the kind of God we have— not only who is transcendent and powerful, but one who is also intimate and personal.”
Reading such led me back to the wardrobe, and then to a railway station, a picture in the bedroom, and an unlocked door. I’m not sure how I’m going to get to Narnia next, but I’m planning to get there while sitting poolside in Florida.
I’ll see you in two weeks when Marilyn and I return from a trip to Tennessee, Florida… and Narnia.
God Bless, Rick