Summary: A message designed to help people experience the wonder of the Christian story in and through the message of Narnia.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Series: God in the Movies
By Pastor Bruce
Well, we’re in the last week of our God in the Movies series and I can’t think of a better movie to end with than “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”. I am been a big C.S. Lewis fan and I am so glad that so many people are begin exposed to his ideas in and through this movie which has become a cultural event. In a world in which the “good news” of the Christian story is so often misrepresented and misinterpreted, he is a sane, thoughtful Christian voice.
Ok, show of hands, how many of you have read the book? How many of you have seen the movie? How many of you have had zero exposure to either the story or the movie. Don’t panic if you’re in that boat that morning as we’ll be going through the story and (I promise) you’ll get it as well. Hopefully, this message might even inspire you to see the film or read the book or both.
What’s great about this film and this story is that normally when I do one of these God in the Movie messages, I have to show you how whatever story we’re watching---like Finding Neverland or The Terminal (films which we’ve done in this series)---is hooked into the Christian story. No so today. Why? Because the story of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe IS the Christian story. That’s what C.S. Lewis intended.
Consequently, all I want to do this morning is walk through the story and just stop at certain points along the way and pay attention to some of the thrilling ideas that C.S. Lewis has embedded in the story.
All right, let’s dive in. The story start with 4 children—Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy—being shipped off to stay in the country during the WWII because of the bombing in London. They end up staying in the mansion of a professor who has a cranky old housekeeper named Mrs. McCready. “Don’t touch this” and “don’t do that” is all they hear from her and, as a result, the children are quite miserable. But there’s a war on and they know they have to make the best of it.
One rainy day, they’re playing hide and seek and Lucy decides to hide in an old wardrobe. Amazingly when she pushes herself to the back of the wardrobe she finds herself in a forest of an entirely different world called Narnia. It is a magical world in which trees are alive and animals talk and there are all sort of unique creatures running around like centaurs and fauns and dryads. It’s just a marvellous place.
Wouldn’t you like to find a wardrobe like that? I remember reading these stories as a child and secretly wishing that the crannies and crevices of my house would lead to Narnia and to adventure. I wanted to talk to horses and have lunch with beavers and most of all meet Aslan. I’ll bet I’m not the only one like that here this morning.
So Lucy finds herself in Narnia and she meets a faun named Mr. Tumnis. Over tea, she discovers that Narnia is ruled by a cruel white witch who has plunged Narnia into an everlasting winter. “Oh, I like winter” says Lucy, “because you can skate and sled and of course you get to celebrate Christmas”. “Oh no” says Mr. Tummis. “With this kind of winter, it’s always winter, but never Christmas”.
Always winter, but never Christmas--what an apt description of what a culture or a world or a life feels like when it’s in the grip of evil. Always hard, always dead, always hopeless. I think anyone who finds themselves in a difficult marriage or family situation, or struggling with an addiction or depression, or just without a sense of purpose in life--you can relate to this. Always winter, never Christmas. Is that you friends? If so, hang on, because there’s hope in this story. Spring is coming.
After tea, Lucy finds her way back to our world and to her brothers and sisters, but of course they don’t believe her. “Another world? Through the wardrobe? Lucy, you’re dreaming.” However, before long on a return trip to Narnia, Edmund follows Lucy through the wardrobe and he too finds himself in Narnia. While Lucy is off visiting Tumnis, he happens upon the evil white witch. Instantly, she recognizes the threat posed by Edmund as there is an ancient prophecy that when the four thrones of Narnia are occupied by “sons and daughters of Adam”, her rule will come to an end. So, instead of immediately disposing of him, craftily she sooths him some hot chocolate and Turkish delight and she promises him not only rooms full of it Turkish Delight if he brings his brothers and sisters to her ice palace, but the kingship of Narnia. But notice how she offers it to him. You’ll be king Edmund, she says, but not with your brothers and sisters as co-sovereigns, not for the benefit of Narnia, but by yourself and for yourself. You will rule all of Narnia, including your siblings who will be your slaves. Notice how she plays to his selfish pride.