If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a good story is worth a thousand sermons. I’m referring to C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, the children’s stories that changed my life nearly 20 years ago.
At midlife my Christian faith had grown stale and perfunctory. I served God and others because I was supposed to. Little emotion. Little passion. Little joy.
Then, in pursuit of a master’s degree, I revisited the land of Narnia – a place where nature is alive, animals talk and children reign as kings and queens – all because the Lion-King Aslan is “on the move.”
Lewis’s stories reminded me that Christianity affirms, even encourages, our deepest longings. Yes, we sacrifice, but only as a part of loving others. A long face is not a badge of honor. It’s not particularly spiritual to be miserable.
In Narnia, human desire is good, not bad. Holiness is attractive, not boring. And play is important, not frivolous. As Aslan said to the children, “You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.”
It’s a compelling vision. But don’t take my word for it. Read or reread the Chronicles for yourself. And, if you live in the area, sign up for my Narnia class at Amarillo College.
It starts Monday night.