Summary: A look at the powerful parallels between "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and the Calvary story and its importance for our families today.
DOOR TO A NEW KINGDOM (Narnia #1)
December 3, 2005 / Upper Room Fellowship
I have a suggestion for all of the single Christians here this morning. Tomorrow, they say, December 4, is Saint Barbara’s Day – Saint Barbara being one of the legendary martyrs of the Church. If you young ladies will take a twig from a cherry tree and put it in a glass of water, and keep a close eye on it, maybe, just maybe, it will bloom by Christmas Eve. And if it does, according to all the collective wisdom of those who know, you will end up being married by the following Christmas. I don’t know if it works every time, but it is substantially cheaper than signing up for eharmony.com.
Last weekend I spent Thanksgiving with my daughter and son-in-law. Charles and Karli had just signed up for Netflix, where you get a DVD a week mailed out to your house. So we spent about three hours cranking through TV episodes of Smallville, which I had never seen before. And this man to whom I have entrusted my granddaughter’s moral upbringing spent maybe half an hour, in all seriousness, explaining to me the science and the background of how Clark Kent, a.k.a. Superman, can fly. Why bullets don’t hurt the Man of Steel. How the lower gravitational force fields on earth compared to on the planet Krypton make it possible for this high school kid in rural Kansas to run faster than a speeding bullet and throw footballs 300 yards in a perfect spiral. My son-in-law Charles knows all the kingdom rules for Superman, all the background policies for how and when Spiderman can do what he does; in fact, he seems to understand the entire doctrinal code for everything D.C. Comics has ever produced.
And now this coming Friday, December 9, maybe the biggest fantasy ever created is going to unfold around the world. I’m not getting paid by the Walt Disney people – even though they’ve just spent something like $180,000,000 making their new holiday movie called The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But it’s my assigned spiritual task today to persuade you that a secret door exists. It’s out there. It can be found. It’s not locked. And if you go up to this door and turn the handle, a new world opens up – a kingdom that Hollywood can’t even try to portray.
Six days from now millions of moviegoers are going to plunk down their ten dollars, and then vicariously walk into a closet. A wardrobe closet in an old Professor Kirke’s house. And if you follow Lucy into the closet, and push your way through all of the thick fur coats and the suffocating mustiness and mothballs, all of a sudden you’re in this magical, make-believe world. It’s a place inhabited by Fauns, which are half-man, half-goat. Dwarves. Tree-women, otherwise known as Dryads. Giants. Centaurs. Unicorns. And also two central characters, personifying good and evil, light and darkness, heaven and hell: Her Imperial Majesty Jadis, Queen of Narnia, also known as the White Witch. And then Aslan the Lion.
Now, even though our church here in Temple City is in the shadows of Tinseltown itself, I wouldn’t consider wasting a whole month of sermons, especially during the Christmas season, on bits and pieces of a Hollywood movie. Except for one thing: anyone who reads this story, or goes to the movies with an honest, searching heart, is going to instantly realize that Aslan the Lion is a type of Jesus. In fact, that’s one key challenge director Andrew Adamson faced: was to not let that fact be too screamingly obvious for a mainstream movie audience.
I’ve only read this first book in the Narnia series of seven, but I found the entire Gethsemane scene, Calvary, and Resurrection Sunday. It’s all there. Aslan is a superhero who lays down his life for a sinning child. He comes to life again and triumphs over the White Witch. And in a land locked in eternal winter, but never Christmas – that’s the Narnia curse – Aslan the Lion even melts the icicles and allows Father Christmas to enter the story.
Here is a paragraph from C. S. Lewis’ story: “A great crowd of people were standing all around the Stone Table and though the moon was shining many of them carried torches which burned with evil-looking red flames and black smoke.”
Now John 18:2: So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: “Even now, as they worked about [Aslan’s] face putting on the muzzle, one bite from his jaws would have cost two or three of them their hands. But he never moved. . . . So thickly was he surrounded by the whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him.”