Hello Friends of Narnia,
This morning I finished reading the Chronicles of Narnia. I began them very slowly back when we ourselves were stumbling in and out of Narnia every day. I read the first books slowly and gradually. This past week I've devoured them.
A few days ago I wept at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as Aslan told Lucy she could never go back to Narnia.
I read all of the Silver Chair yesterday, and The Last Battle this morning.
I read through them when I was teenager, but I had forgotten much of the story. Reading through it was like meeting old friends again. It seemed familiar, and then my mind and heart sighed and smiled as the story unfolded. I felt moments of horror, loss and joy just as if it was the first time reading them, yet it also felt like the embrace of an old friend.
Now this morning as I read the death of Narnia I wept again. Aslan called the good Narnians through the stable door into a new place. I thought of the good Narnians I spent the Christmas season with, and how they all entered the Christmas stable this December 25th and said goodbye to the old Narnia.
As Aslan called the stars out of the sky, I thought of our humble stage. The lights will be lowered to make way for a new story. Those same lights will shine on something new very soon. They will even shine on some of the Narnians in new form.
As the old Narnia's trees where devoured and it was left as a barren, ice-covered, stone world, I thought of our stage. Those trees would be removed. The theatre is covered in snow, and it's cold as there are no people in it for months. It will become a blank stage again, and the stone table will be dismantled and recycled.
Yet, the Narnians enter the stable door and come to the other side where everything is new and sweet and beautiful. They all run! "Further up and further in!" calls the Unicorn. The Eagle flies high above it all and cries, "Narnia is not dead! This is Narnia."
As they come farther in they meet all the legends of Narnia. It was such a marvellous thing to read through the story and come to the final pages and see all the names together from all of Narnia's history. I truly believe the first moment in Heaven will feel like that. I started reading down the list, Reepicheep, Puddleglum, Rilian, Caspian, and on.....then in my heart I realized I would meet Tumnus and the Beavers! I hadn't read their names since The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, a long five books ago. What a joy it was to meet them again!
What feels incomplete in the end of the Chronicles is the absence of Susan. In the story, she lost faith in Narnia. It was a strange and empty feeling, to not have her standing in the new Narnia at the end. Though I believe the story isn't quite finished for her. She will one day join her family back in Narnia! And what a joyous reception that will be!!!
I will leave you with some of the final words of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It resonated deep in me, as the purpose of OUR part in Narnia this year. For I believe Narnia ripples outwards and continues to call people into the heart of it. It called us all as we stood and spoke it (and sang it and danced it).It called our audience and they leapt to their feet in response to it. It called our young friend Grace when her father arranged for a photo with the cast after a show, and we were blessed by her enthusiasm and joy.
Here is what Aslan said about it at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader;
"Oh Aslan," said Lucy, "Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?"
"I shall be telling you all the time," said Aslan, "But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder. And now come; I will open the door in the sky, and send you to your own land."
"Please Aslan," said Lucy, "Before we go, will you tell us when we can come back to Narnia again? Please. And oh, do, do, do make it soon."
"Dearest," said Aslan very gently, "you and your brother will never come back to Narnia. You are too old children, and you must begin to come close to your own world now."
"It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy, "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you again?"
"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.
"Are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund.
"I am," said Aslan, "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
So my dear Narnian friends, I want to thank you for our journey together. May you be blessed as you continue to discover the new Narnia, and may we all come to know the Great Lion!