This season we have been reading a children’s storybook version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe during Children’s Time in worship. It is one of the most important books that C.S. Lewis ever wrote and in one of the great ironies of his life – he did not originally intend it to be a Christian book. Yet, somehow, thanks perhaps the workings of a Spirit we all know and love, it is the most ingenious explanation of how to understand the meaning of Good Friday that exists.
Allow me to explain. Aslan. That majestic and powerful lion. If you have never quite understood who he was meant to represent, well, let’s see if you can guess in a few minutes. He is the true ruler of Narnia, that mystical land in which the story takes place. It is currently being run by an evil White Witch who has forced the land to live in a permanent state of winter, but never Christmas (can you imagine the horror).
When the Pevensie children arrive, the Witch attempts to tempt and trick the younger of the two boys into betraying his three other siblings. Fortunately, he fails miserably in his attempt to hand them over and is recovered by Aslan’s forces. However, the Witch, because of her understanding of the law upon which Narnia was founded, believes that all who commit such crimes, breaking their relationships, belong to her. Their blood is her wage by right.
But Aslan steps in. He takes Edmund’s, the young boy’s, place. The Witch rejoices thinking that she has finally won everything because now the true King has died on the very table of the laws upon which Narnia was founded. Yet, when the Witch leaves, the Stone Table itself cracks. Aslan disappears, only to reappear with the dawn alive and explains: when one who is blameless freely gives their life for another, then even death itself shall overturn.
One guess who Aslan is now.
I have been showing my children the movie version of this story (2005) since they were babies on Good Friday, every year, because even if it gets dark at moments, when Aslan comes walking through those sun-drenched stones, my eyes fill with tears – just as they do on Easter morning. And I want my children to understand, more than anything, that God chose the cross, Christ chose the lay down his life, out of love. Love for them. Love for me. Love for all of us.
There is no more important week of the year than Holy Week. We would have no Church, no Christianity, no faith without the empty tomb. And we would have no empty tomb without Golgotha. This is the very foundation of who we are.
We love because he first loved us. Come and remember why, again.
Blessings, Pastor Janie