C.S. Lewis created a world called Narnia all based on a question. What if God redeemed another world like he redeemed our own? And if this world—Narnia—was filled with talking animals, would Christ be an animal? Though not meant to be a strict allegorical retelling of the story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration, Lewis masterfully pull readers into a world where theological themes abound. Below you will find a spoken word, songs, and explanations of how the world of Narnia helps us understand many of the rich theological themes that make our faith so astonishing and beautiful.
In the book, The Magician’s Nephew, Aslan creates a world with the rich tenor of his voice. Though Jadis—the white witch of the The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe—was there when this world began, she was not witness, “in the stillness and darkness before the dawn of Time.” She only understands the deep magic in part. In The Silver Chair, Aslan commissions Jill to memorize four signs that will lead them to the missing prince of Narnia. She is to share them with Eustace and repeat them over and over again. The references to the Emperor Beyond the Sea, the Deep Magic, and the Four Signs serve as the inspiration for this spoken word which reminds me of the Living Word—Scripture, the authority these words hold, and how we are to trust God at His word to do what He says He will do. Special thanks to Music by TuesdayNight from Pixabay for the audio for this piece.
The character development of Edmund has to be my favorite. Many might be familiar with the words spoken over Edmund when he is restored to the community through Aslan in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Aslan says, “Here is your brother and… there is no need to talk to him about what is past.” This instance of forgiveness shows up elsewhere as well. In The Horse and His Boy, Edmund reflects that Rabadash might repent after all, “…even a traitor may mend,” he says. “I have known one that did.” When Eustace confides in Edmund about his own encounter with Aslan, and then apologizes for the way he treated everyone, Edmund’s response is I did much worse. I find that in every mention of Edmund post-encounter with Aslan he has been transformed and his words and actions reflect one who has been forgiven much. But my favorite moment with Edmund and the inspiration for this song is when the white witch spews accusations at Edmund in front of Aslan and the Narnian Army.
“You have a traitor there, Aslan,” said the witch. Of course everyone present knew that she meant Edmund. But Edmund had got past thinking about himself after all he’d been through and after the talk he’d had that morning. He just went on looking at Aslan. It didn’t seem to matter what the witch said.C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the WItch, and the wardrobe
Edmund kept his eyes on Aslan and that is the inspiration for this song about our response to Christ in the redemption narrative.
Shasta’s song is inspired by a beautiful interaction an orphan boy named Shasta has with Aslan in the book The Horse and His Boy. In a moment of self-pity, Shasta hears Aslan speak to him. Shasta, not seeing the Lion but only hearing his voice, asks, “Who are you?” the Lion responds in triplicate “Myself.” First deep and low, then loud, clear, and gay, then finally so softly you coud hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all around. When Aslan reveals himself to Shasta, the boy falls at his feet. Lewis describes this encounter:
“The High King above all kings stooped towards him. Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung about the mane, was all round him. It touched his forehead with its tongue. He lifted his face and their eyes met. Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared. He was alone with the horse on a grassy hillside under a blue sky. And there were birds singing.”—C.S. Lewis, the horse and his boy
The Triune God is one of the hardest things to understand yet Lewis’ description of a “swirling glory” is a pretty fantastic attempt and the emphasis of this song.
Reepicheep is introduced in Prince Caspian but shines brightly in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. When he was a wee little mouse babe, a dryad sang over him the sweetest song about his future.
“Where the sky and water meet
Where the waves grow sweet
Doubt not my Reepicheep
To find all you seek
There is the Utter East”C.s. Lewis, the voyage of the dawn treader
Though this little creature has his eyes on eternity, he is also faithful to those around him—in the waiting. He treats people with love and dignity. Even Eustace, a snotty nosed boy who exhausts everyone is treated with respect by Reepicheep. Reepicheep reminds me of the church. That although we long for a new creation where there is no more pain or sorrow, we also have a job to do while here on earth.
Home at Last
This song is inspired by the words of Jewel, the Unicorn in The Last Battle. When he enters the New Narnia, he proclaims, “I have come home at last! This is my real country! This is the land I have been looking for although I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is because it sometimes looked a little like this…come further up and further in!” This is probably the most beautiful picture of what it might look at Christ’s return, reign, and restoration all things and the impetus for this song.