The following is an excerpt from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, from the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. I have never read this classic before (and I am not exactly a Lewis fan, finding his writings difficult [and lacking in helpful punctuation!]), but I have been enjoying becoming familiar with LWW while reading it aloud to our son this summer.
At this point in the story, Edmund, one of the Narnia children, was becoming lost (ostensibly, in the woods, but there is more to it). He had left the others and was going to the Witch’s house. . . .
It was pretty bad when he reached the far side. It was growing darker every minute and what with that and the snowflakes swirling all round him he could hardly see three feet ahead. And then too there was no road. He kept slipping into deep drifts of snow, and skidding on frozen puddles, and tripping over fallen tree-trunks and sliding down steep banks, and barking his shins against rocks, until he was wet and cold and bruised all over. The silence and the loneliness were dreadful. In fact I really think he might have given up the whole plan and gone back and owned up and made friends with the others, if he hadn’t happened to say to himself, “When I’m King of Narnia the first thing I shall do will be to make some decent roads. And of course that set him off thinking about being a King and all the other things he would do and this cheered him up a good deal. He had just settled in his mind what sort of palace he would have and how many cars and all about his private cinema and where the principal railways would run and what laws he would make against beavers and dams and was putting the finishing touches to some schemes for keeping Peter in his place, when the weather changed. (chapter nine)
I perceive subtle connections between Edmund’s “straying” and our own straying. (Surely C.S. Lewis had this very thing in mind.) Further, I wonder whether Edmund’s bout with earthly (semi-narcissistic?) musing is indicative of the generally well-intended but ill-fated desires of those who place too much emphasis on this world.
Many Christians stress being involved with, being engaged with the world. (Others stress withdrawing from it.) There is something to be said for both emphases.
I suppose I am chameleonic:
♦ On the one hand, when in the company of most evangelicals, I turn a color that some would call pale, finding too many Christians in a headlong rush toward building roads, making laws, and being “kings.”
♦ On the other hand, when I am appalled by fellow believers’ repeated retreats into church buildings, or when I perceive authentic Christian mission, not adulterated by nationalistic or institutional goals, I turn a sanguine red, pulsing with an enlivened desire to be with (and to do for) people.
I am challenged by thoughtful believers who find healthy ways to engage, to serve, to love. I myself have been weak in the doing, and I need these challenges. Whatever I do in the world . . . however I find to be an illuminated, illuminating influence . . . may it not be motivated by a desire to “make this world a better place” or to “take this country back for Christ,” but by a consuming allegiance to the notion of the Kingship of God in the hearts of men and women.
For indeed, the kingdom of God is in your midst.
(Luke 17:21b, NET Bible)
Other posts from The Lion, the With, and the Wardrobe: