Summary: 4th in a series of sermons based on "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" that makes the connection between the power of Aslan and the power of Christ.
“A Deeper Magic”
I John 4: 7-12
December 18, 2005
I’d like to begin our time together this morning by asking you a question. Here it is, “What if it were always winter, but never Christmas?” To tell you the truth, this question isn’t my own. It is in fact a question that is suggested by the book and the film “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” which tells the tale of Narnia, a frozen and inhospitable land that lays eternally blanketed under a icy covering of snow.
And scattered here and there across the icy landscape of Narnia are the frozen figures of hundreds and thousands of poor souls who had unfortunately found themselves at the business end of the wand wielded by Jadis, the White Witch who had condemned all of Narnia to it’s icy exile. One touch of Jadis’ wand turned anyone who dared stand in her way into a cold, lifeless statue. To all appearances, for them, life was over.
In “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” this frozen, lifeless state is mere fantasy. But like so much else in this book, there is a real life correlation to the cold, barren landscape of Narnia and our own everyday world. You see, the truth is that there are a great many things, people and experiences in life that can render you and me just as cold and stiff as those statues in frozen Narnia.
Devastating illness. The loss of a loved one. The betrayal of a friend. Fear of the future. The disappointment of failure. Life can be rough, and quite often, when stung by the frigid reality of these sorts of pains and sorrows, we, like those poor citizens of Narnia can find ourselves frozen in the icy grip of the enemy. When the world gets cold, it is a great temptation to just quit living.
Yet also, there was another temptation in Narnia as well, and it is exemplified by Edmund Pevensie. Keri Wyatt Kent describes Edmund this way “In the story, Edmund betrays his brother and sisters for some candy and the promise of kingship. Like most of us, Edmund is not a completely bad guy. He’s just a little selfish, a little cranky. He’s a bit greedy, but he’s also really good at rationalizing. Watching Edmund, we see how easily we can choose evil over good, even if we don’t mean to. We see how easy it is to behave badly, a little bit at a time, only to find ourselves lost in our own selfishness.” One can’t help but see a little bit of Edmund in oneself as he reminds us all of the words written by the apostle Paul, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
The truth is, we all resemble Edmund to some degree.
Frozen by selfishness, cut off from others by the cold of our unthinking behavior. Like those, cold, frozen stone statues that dot the Narnian landscape, the part of Edmund that lives in us all can seem pretty frigid and hopeless sometimes.
And there is a price to pay for such behavior. In the fictional land of Narnia, there is a law of “Deep Magic” that sentences Edmund to death for his actions. Because of his disobedient and traitorous ways blood must be shed.
The same is true in the real world as well. The scriptures tell us of God’s law which says that “the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23 In our world, as in Narnia, traitorous, disobedient behavior leads to an eternal, spiritual death. You see, just as Edmund deserved to die according to the law of “Deep Magic” in Narnia, so do you and I, because of our sin and disobedience, be it great or small, are equally deserving of the same fate decreed by God’s word and law. We deserve to be exiled to the land where it is always winter, but never Christmas.
That’s what we deserve. But thankfully for Edmund, and for you and me, Christmas did come, to Narnia, and to our world as well. For you see, even though the White Witch may have felt that she held the final card with the law of the deep magic, and the penalty of death that this law demanded of poor Edmund. There was, unbeknownst to her a “Deeper magic.” A magic, that if unleashed could actually cause death itself to turn backward. A deeper magic that could bring warmth and new life to all of Narnia.
That deeper magic is love. And it finds its’ way into Narnia in the character of Aslan the lion. Called “The Son of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea, the great Lion, the True King of Narnia,” Aslan returns to Narnia, forgives Edmund of his disobedience, and eventually offers his own life to pay Edmunds’ debt. And it is the love of Aslan that eventually thaws the icy cold and brings new life to all of Nania.