I've read the Chronicles of Narnia at least three times and I'm in the process of reading them to my son, I love those books! What an amazing picture of truth. I learn something new every time I open them, the excitement fresh with every reading. Each of the seven books, set in fantasy and filled with talking animals and mythological creatures, depicts an aspect of our journey to understand truth. At the heart of the books is the great lion Aslan, the Christ figure, encountering him in the pages makes my heart race. In the seven books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Horse and His Boy; The Magician's Nephew and the Last Battle, there are sections in each that stand out to me, though I do have a few favorites.
(Spoiler alert for the end of the series.) One of my favorite sections comes in the last book and speaks to why I love them so much. "The Last Battle" closes with the main characters seeing the end of the Narnian world, as we will see ours end one day. The new world the characters find themselves in seems familiar but very different as well. They realize the old Narnian mountains and the new world's are "exactly alike". But, as Lucy says, "And yet they're not like. They're different. They have more colors on them and they look further away than I remembered and they're more...more...oh, I don't know..." " More like the real thing" says the Lord Digory. Truth dawns, the real Narnia was not dead, only the copy they had known. The copy had a beginning and end, it was a shadow, just as our world is a copy of the real thing.
The Unicorn, Jewel, sums it up, "I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this." The resonance of such a statement rings true with me. The longing for home, my real otherworldly home, I'm learning drives me and is the motivation behind much of what I do. Narnia calls out that the real adventure is yet to come.
Lewis ends that last book with Aslan explaining to the four children and their friends that they would never have to leave him again. There had been an accident and they were dead. He says, "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 (of Narnia), 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 goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."
I can't wait for the real thing, Narnia just wets my appetite! These excerpts are a taste of what's inside these remarkable books, they are full of beauty, inspiration and adventure. If you haven't taken the time to read the Chronicles of Narnia, I recommend that you do! How about you, is there a work of fiction that has inspired your faith walk?