Summary: A sermon introducing the power of using CS Lewis’ novel to reawaken our understanding of what it means to be awed at the name of Jesus.
Isaiah 40:1-11 (Read from The Message)
Weary and heavy laden, the people of Israel waited for the Savior to be born and Isaiah proclaimed the Good News, God was coming! Sins were forgiven. Joy would enter into the darkness of their winter.
It was exciting news.
But friends, it still is! Why do we not stand and shout it out as Isaiah calls on us to do?
It is because we have become complacent.
We have become comfortably used to the gift of Christ, and the celebration of his birth. We need something to shake us out of our complacency and remind us how wonderful, how grand, how holy, how awesome this news is.
That is why we are taking The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as a part of our Advent theme this year. To shake us awake, and make us look in a new way at the message that Christ is coming.
In the book The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe the advent of Christ is reflected in the advent of Aslan, the great lion, the king of all Narnia.
Some will question if Lewis really meant for Aslan to reflect Christ, but Lewis once answered that it wasn’t so much that he wrote Christ into Narnia as Christ entered it himself.
Lewis clearly believed however that Jesus had entered this story and for a very specific reason. When in a later book in the Chronicles of Narnia, that is the series that The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is book 2 of, in a later book Aslan, the great lion, tells Lucy Peevensie (the little girl in our banner), he tells her that her adventures in Narnia are over and she is distraught. She explains her distress this way:
“’It isn’t Narnia, you know,’ sobbed Lucy, ‘It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. (“there” referring to our world) 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.’”
By learning a little about Aslan in Narnia, we too can learn to know him better in our world. Jesus said, if we want to enter his kingdom we must come as little children.
Stories can help us to do that. It is simply prideful, to think that a story written for a child is beneath us when Jesus himself said that we must become as little children. And so in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe we are invited to take the chance to see Christ through the eyes of child once again.
Can we be so sure that Aslan’s name in our world is Jesus?
Listen to this letter CS Lewis wrote to a little girl named Hila, when she wrote him asking Lewis to tell her Aslan’s name in our world:
Lewis responded with clues from the Chronicles of Narnia. Most are from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe but not all. He wrote to Hila:
“Well, I want you to guess. Has there ever been anyone in this world who
1) arrived at the same time as Father Christmas,
2) Said he was the son of the Great Emperor,
3) Gave himself up for someone else’s fault, to be jeered at and killed by wicked people,
4) Came to life again, and
5) Is sometimes spoken of as a lamb?
Don’t you really know His name in this world? Think it over, and let me know your answer.”
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is not just another fantasy story, nor just another movie—it is a reflection of the greatest story ever told, the story of the Lion of Judah come to save us from the winter of the soul and from our sins.
The name of the great lion can inspire us to a renewed excitement at the name of Christ.
Listen to this description of the 4 Peevensie children’s responses when they hear “Aslan is on the move.” It is the first time they have heard his name:
For Peter, who is the oldest, the name of Aslan makes him suddenly brave. For Susan, it like hearing “a delightful strain of music”. To Lucy, our heroine, the first of the children to enter Narnia, the name of Aslan gives her the feeling that one gets when they wake up and realize it is the beginning of a lovely holiday. Edmund, the fourth child is trapped by his own betrayal of his family and the name horrifies him at first; but eventually the name will come to mean forgiveness for Edmund., for Aslan will die for his sin.