Summary: First of series of 3 sermons on "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". This one focuses on the Wardrobe, and the reality of the worlds beyond what we see or experience (i.e. both the spiritual dimension and the larger world).
“IN OTHER WORLDS: BEYOND THE WARDROBE”
[Sermon 1 of 3]
In a little over a week, movie theaters will be showing the new movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The movie is the portrayal of the first of C.S. Lewis’s series about Narnia, a mythical land that he wrote about in a series of children’s books in the 1950’s. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first book in the series to be written, even though some of the other books (there are 7 books in the series) actually take place before this one. It’s a great series of books that I highly recommend for reading to your children, as well as for your own enjoyment.
The Narnia of Lewis’s imagination is a magical land, a land
· of talking animals like Mr. and Mrs. Beaver,
· of unusual creatures like Tumnus the Faun, half goat and half man,
· of mountains and rivers and forests,
· and of fabled places like the ancient castle Cair Paravel and the place of the Stone Table.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the story of four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, who enter the land of Narnia unexpectedly when they enter a wardrobe. (A wardrobe is a large piece of furniture in which to hang clothes in houses before they had built-in closets.) The wardrobe is in an otherwise empty room in a large house belonging to an old Professor, and the children are playing in the big house when they stumble into the wardrobe. Lucy is the first one in, Edmund comes later, but eventually all four of them end up in Narnia. While they are in Narnia, they have a great adventure which takes place over a period of time. Interestingly, though, when they come out of Narnia and back through the wardrobe into the house, no time has past. It’s as though the two worlds, Narnia and the “real world” of the Professor’s house, are existing side by side, but in totally different time zones.
And actually, this is about more than just those two worlds. There’s a third world to the story that gets only brief mention on the very first page of the book. Let me read you how the book begins. “Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the heart of the country, ten miles from the nearest railway station and two miles from the nearest post office.” (p.1) The big world is at war in a great World War in places far away, but the world also contains the Professor’s house with the wardrobe, where there is also access to a whole other big world, the world of Narnia.
Clearly there is more to the world that the children live in than meets the eye at any given moment. And that truth is reality not only for Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. It’s also reality for us. Our limited vision and perception tends to see only this world, our immediate surroundings. At the very least, we get absorbed with what goes on right around us – homes, jobs, neighbors, school, church, family, friends – and that tends to be as far as we are aware of.
But the Bible clearly teaches that there is something more to our existence than just what we see or experience. The letter to the Ephesians speaks numerous times of a reality that is beyond our immediate perception, but which nevertheless is a reality. Our passage this morning speaks of “principalities, powers, world rulers of this present darkness, spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.” Do you ever think about that part of reality? What’s beyond your wardrobe?
From Scripture we get little glimpses of what that might be like, which we can piece together to some extent. We even get one of the great purposes for the church expressed in terms related to that greater reality. “Through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 3:10) The church exists to speak to more than just our world. There is much more!
But much of what’s “out there” we can only speculate about, looking ahead in hope to a time when we will see it in its fullness.
In The Sacred Romance, Brent Curtis and John Eldredge talk about the greater reality of which we are a part in terms of 3 acts of a play, which they entitle God’s Eternal Heart, God’s Heart Betrayed, and God’s Heart on Trial.