Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Horse and His Boy

When I was younger, this book bored me. I thought it was the weakest of all the books in C. S. Lewis's series. When I read it shortly after I returned home from my mission, however, my attitude changed completely! The book is about a boy named Shasta. He was raised by a fisherman who always treated him poorly. Shasta discovers a horse named Bree from Narnia and decide to run away together to Narnia. On the way, they encounter terrible threats. He spends a night alone among tombs with only a cat for company, while he hears the howls of jackals and the roar of a lion. The threats seem to mount continuously and he and his friend are even attacked by a lion while they are hurrying to warn a king about an upcoming attack. At one point, Shasta finds himself alone, riding a horse that couldn't talk in the misty fog. He is feeling very somber when he suddenly realizes that somebody, or someTHING is walking by him.

'"Who are you?" he said, scarcely above a whisper.
"One who has waited long for you to speak."' replies the voice.

The THING then talks to Shasta, who exclaims, "I am the unluckiest person in the whole world!" and the THING instructs him to tell of his sorrows. "So he told how he had never known his real father or mother and had been brought up sternly by the fisherman. And then he told the story of his escape and how they were chased by lions and forced to swim for their lives; and of all their dangers in Tashbaan and about his night among the tombs and how the beasts howled at him out of the desert. And he told about the heat and thirst of their desert journey and how they were almost at their goal when another lion chased them...

"I do not call you unfortunate," said the Large Voice.
"Don't you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?" said Shasta.
"There was only one lion," said the Voice.
"How do you know?"
"I was the lion." And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. "I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you."

I wish I could go on with the passage to the moment where Shasta has a sacred moment with the lion the reader must recognize as Aslan. I love how the many things that Shasta viewed as trials were actually blessings. The same is true for us. So many of our challenges are actually blessings. We just can't see the final result yet. But one day each of us will have a sacred moment with the Savior and He will show us everything. This reminds me of a Portuguese hymn called "Agora Não mas Logo Mais." Perhaps that will appear soon on my music blog. The point is, the Savior is watching over us and all of our experiences will work out for our good if we have faith in Him.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The second book in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series (but the first one that he actually wrote) is a timeless classic. It is also a culmination of Christian symbolism with the depiction of the Savior's Atonement. It all begins when Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy enter the wonderful world of Narnia, only to find that it is under the control of the evil witch Jadis, who is now called the White Witch. She makes it so that it is always winter and never Christmas. Peter, Susan, and Lucy learn that they are to meet Aslan, who is coming to destroy the witch once and for all, bringing summer with him. Edmund, however, has allied himself with the witch, having become addicted to her food. He betrays them, but is eventually rescued by Aslan's army, just as the witch is about to kill him.

However, the White Witch demands that Edmund be returned to her. Traitors belong to her, just as sinners belong to Hell. The law demands that such be surrendered. Aslan, however, subjects himself to Edmund's fate, suffering in his place. He allows his mane to be shaved as he suffers humiliating treatment from the witch and her subjects. Then he is killed, much to the horror of Lucy and Susan, who are watching close by. Their sadness is turned to great joy, however, when Aslan resurrects in the morning. He has paid the price for Edmund, has conquered death itself, and now brings back with him others that have been killed by the witch (she turns people into stone). Returning with his glorious, resurrected army, Aslan encounters the witch's army and personally kills her. Likewise, Christ died for all sinners, but resurrected three days later, along with the fallen saints. He has conquered all. Upon seeing Aslan and embracing him, Lucy and Susan cry out, "You're real!" Jesus is real, and He is alive.