Summary: We are haunted by a desire for another land, which is our home with God.
Beyond the Wardrobe
A sermon by Pastor Christian Breuninger (delivered December 4, 2005)
I confess to being a sucker for fantasy, and I am especially fond of Chronicles of Narnia. When I saw the trailers for this upcoming film, I thought: why not explore spiritual wonders woven into timless tale during Christmas?
Let’s face it: life can get dull, and the daily routine and mundane activities that mark our lives can act like a layer of grime on the windshield of life.
But Narnia (like all good fantasy) draws us into a land that is richer and brighter than our everyday world. And it’s in that place of mystery and adventure that our wonder is rekindled & our spirits are stirred. This is, of course, the great benefit fantasy---good fantasy helps us reenter routines of life with a renewed sense of wonder.
And we need that because even faith can become mundane. If you’ve been going to church for a while, you’ve heard the Christmas stories year after year, and maybe they’ve become so familiar that the miracle of incarnation looses its wonder. A journey into Narnia might be just what we need to rekindle the wonder of Christmas.
So can I ask you to take another route to Christmas this year? Can I ask you to open eyes of your heart on as we go journey beyond the wardrobe?
When Lucy stumbled though ordinary piece of furniture, she entered enchanted world. Beyond the fur coats that hung in standing wardrob, lay a place more wonderful anything she could have imagined. Upon entering, she hears the crunching of snow underfoot, she feels snow fall on cheek, she sees light far off, and in that place she meets a faun and her adventure begin.
When Lucy returns, Peter and Susan think she has lost her mind. Lucy tries to convince them of the land beyond the wardrobe, but they remain unconvinced. The next day they meet the oner of home where staying, the wise and joyful professor. Lucy tells the professor of her adventures beyond the wardrobe. Peter says that it can’t be possible—that she’s just making it all up. The professor listens carefully to Lucy’s adventures, then to the objections of Peter, and then says:
"Logic—why don’t they teach logic at schools anymore! There are only 3 possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad or he is telling the truth. You have told me that she does not tell lies, and it’s obvious that she is not mad, so we must assume for now that she is telling the truth" (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe)
What is the truth that Narnia alludes to? That there are portals to the supernatural all around us for those who have eyes to see.
In a sermon called Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis said:
“Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am, but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as educing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us up from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly 100 years”
CS Lewis knew that worldliness was a spell has enchanted us. He understood that we have been duped by a dogma of materialistic naturalism that says: "What you see, measure, test, dice and slice is all there is—supernatural is wishful thinking." Knowing this, Lewis wove a spell called Narnia, creating a rich imaginaary alter-world beautifully made with fabric shot full of glory; a world where animals speak and exhibit some bit of the shape of that glory. A world, sadly, where evil turns out to be a counterfeit parody of that glory.
Lewis wove this spell to stir our hearts toward a forgotten country that lies in back of everyone’s imagination; a homeland we can’t seem shake off. But the bible takes us further, revealing the source of this longing for home.
In book of ecclesiastics we read these words:
“God has planted eternity in the human heart.” Eccl 3:11 (NLT)
This is why we long for a forgotten land. This is why…we can’t shake off desire to transcend this world and contact the supernatural. This is why shows like Lost, Medium, Invasion, and Supernatural are all the rage today.
No civilization has ever been entirely able to delete rumors of land beyond. These rumors of a lost Eden come to us in stories, poetry, flashes of joy, aching desire which are, as CSL recognized: “the sent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard” (Weight of Glory)
Lewis speaks about this aching desire in Mere Christianity, when he writes:
“If I find in myself a desire for which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world… Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it. If that is so, then I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise or be unthankful for these earthy blessings, but on the other hand never to mistake them for something else of which they are only a copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive my desire from my true county which I shall never find until after death.” (Mere Christianity)