November 24, 2010

A Long Journey

C.S. Lewis's dedication in at the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (spacing of phrases for effect by me):

My dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still.

But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.

You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be

your affectionate Godfather,
C.S. Lewis

I have always loved fantastical adventure stories. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, and The Dark is Rising are all book-spanning epics that I've enjoyed and re-enjoyed at some point in my life (I'm reading Narnia again this week). One of the things I love about these books is how the stories and characters develop over time and through experiences, and when you reach the end everything is packed with meaning obtained from what has happened.

What I want to talk about though, is the sense of adventure. There is something large at stake in all these stories. There are struggles, fights, deaths, adventures, victories, injuries, healings, prophecies, promises, friendships, and all sorts of very significant and thusly emotional happenings. I get caught up in the drama and significance of it all.

Something that I feel most people share with me when it comes to enjoy works of epic fantasy is the worlds they happen in are not "ordinary" like our own. There's a sense of freedom from the constraints of our particular society that we often believe limit the possibilities of adventure.

There was some point in the last two years where I had a subtle revelation that has developed more and more clearly since. As I got serious about my walk with God, life began to get much more meaningful. There was much more significance to each of my actions and words than there had been before, and as I realized this I thought of my favorite stories. Everyone in them lives in a world that is not ours, or is at least drawn into others that are not. The assumption of a lack of significance is one that I made for a long time; while I still very much enjoy the stories I do not look down on my own journey and fight that I am living out. Christ has made sure that my life is anything but insignificant, and I would do well to remember this on a regular basis.

I am a son of the Most High God, who created this world. I am a co-heir with his Son, Jesus Christ.
That same Jesus Christ gave his life for me, in a way that was less like throwing himself in front of a bus and more like standing in front of firing squad that I very much deserved.

I am more than a conqueror through Christ. Not in the sense that Alexander or Napolean was, but in terms of fighting for the Kingdom of God. Since I am more than Alexander or Napolean, if I heed the call of God in my life I will have a significant eternal effect on the state of things; Alexander and Napolean only had temporal ones.

I am literally fighting "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).

Every true Christian is in the same situation. If we are to take the Word of God seriously, then we must consider the true significance of who we are. We must take into account the weight and importance of what we do. Somewhere in the Lone Islands, or in Lyra's Oxford, or in the Shire, the fairy tales are not of magic and talking animals...

They are about a boy passive about his holy inheritance until he was awakened by the Spirit of the King, and his Brothers and Sisters fought and grew alongside him as he learned about his King. They are about a boy who falls seven times and seeks to get up seven times, a boy who seeks to wield the Sword of the Spirit with ever great skill, a boy who hates nothing more than the suffering of others. They are about a boy who fights against enemies who attack his family, his friends, and himself.

The stories are about a boy who does not always remember who he is, even though he was told to do so from a young age. They are about a boy who through his own weakness is shown the awesome power of his Father.

Much of the story before the end is still unwritten, but the end is known even by the boy. That gives him hope for the future, because he knows that however dark things get, however fierce and fatal the battle, however alone he feels, his King Most High has won and is bringing him home.

If you see this boy forgetting who he is, remind him. He will appreciate it.

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