Summary: Just as Edmund encounters powers both good and evil in Narnia, we encounter the power of sin and God’s power of love in our own world at Christmas.
Rev. Lin Smalec Salem Church, Waynesboro, PA
ENCOUNTER THE POWER
Second Sunday of Advent
4 December 2005
Well, folks, this is the week - on Friday, the Narnia movie comes to our local theaters! One question on my mind, and I’m sure many of you are thinking the same thing, is will the movie truly capture the spirit and power of the book? A recent review in Time magazine noted that the movie “punches up” some of the dialogue and makes the final battle much more dramatic. As the screenwriter, Christopher Markus, says, “It’d be a crime not to show a fight between a centaur and a minotaur!” (1) I expect the special effects to be awesome, since they are done by the same effects people who worked on the Lord of the Rings movies. I do believe this will be a powerful movie experience!
When we say something has power or is powerful, what do we mean? Power refers to strength or force or energy. Power can also refer to control, the ability or authority to act. There is a great deal of power at work in the world of Narnia - power for good, and power for evil. This morning we will encounter the power in Narnia and in our own world by exploring the story of Edmund.
Edmund is the youngest brother of the family, a year older than Lucy. In the early chapters of the book, we get an idea of Edmund’s personality. He is rather unpleasant, wouldn’t you say? He complains and grumbles, and he is very cruel to Lucy when she comes back from her first visit to Narnia. None of the other kids believed Lucy - but Edmund is really mean about it. As the book says, “The others who thought [Lucy] was telling a lie, and a silly lie too, made her very unhappy. The two elder ones did this without meaning to do it, but Edmund could be spiteful, and on this occasion he was spiteful. He sneered and jeered at Lucy and kept on asking her if she’d found any other new countries in other cupboards all over the house.” (2, chapter 3) Ah yes, Edmund is a lovely child, isn’t he?
A few days later, while the children are playing hide-and-seek, Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe - and finds himself in the cold frozen world of Narnia. He doesn’t see Lucy anywhere, and assumes she’s off somewhere sulking. Then he hears bells - sleigh bells - and out of the snowy woods comes a sledge - another word for a sleigh - pulled by reindeer. And the passenger of the sleigh is a beautiful woman - listen to how the book describes her - “a great lady, taller than any woman that Edmund had ever seen. She also was covered in white fur up to her throat and held a long straight golden wand in her right hand and wore a golden crown on her head. Her face was white--not merely pale, but white like snow or paper or icing-sugar, except for her very red mouth. It was a beautiful face in other respects, but proud and cold and stern.” (2, chapter 3)
This, of course, is the White Witch, who calls herself the Queen of Narnia. When she finds out that Edmund is a boy - a “son of Adam” - it seems at first that she will place some horrible enchantment on him. But then she changes her mind, and is nice to him, in a way that makes Edmund rather nervous! She invites him up on her sleigh, covers him with her cloak, and offers him a magical drink that warms him right up.
Then she asks him what he likes best to eat - and he answers “Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty!”. (2, chapter 4) Turkish Delight is an extremely sweet sugary soft candy. You can imagine how good it would taste to a child during World War II in England, where sugar was strictly rationed. The White Witch creates an enchanted box of Turkish Delight for Edmund, and he eats every bite. As he is scarfing down the candy, he’s telling the witch everything she wants to know about his brother and sisters, and about Lucy’s previous visit to Narnia.
When Edmund has eaten all the candy, he still wants more. This is because the witch has enchanted the Turkish Delight so that “anyone who once tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves.” (2, chapter 4) And indeed, the Turkish Delight has totally captured Edmund - he will now do anything, including turning his brother and sisters over to the White Witch, in order to get more of that candy!