“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.”
Follow along with chapter 10 in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
In our story, Edmund is with the White Witch and he is having second thoughts about his betrayal to the creatures of Narnia and of his siblings. He’s cold and hungry and has only been offered stale bread to eat; not even a small slice of Turkish Delight. Edmund feels like a prisoner and it appears doubtful that the White Witch will made him a king. Edmund’s observation has shown that the White Witch’s castle is sparsely decorated with only a few furs for warmth, nothing else for luxury, pleasure or comfort. The castle was more of a cold and empty tomb.
The White Witch is now aware that Aslan is on the move, she along with her dwarf and Edmund jostle over the snow in her sleigh in search for Peter, Susan and Lucy. During their search, they stumble across a small group of small forest creatures seated at a Christmas supper table in the middle of the woods. The aroma from their tiny feast smelled so delicious and made Edmund so very hungry. It turns out that Father Christmas had given them the feast. At the very presence of the White Witch she turns the entire supper party to stone! The White Witch was furious to hear celebrating; she knows this is a sign pointing to the end of her reign. At the same time she is also indignant at the existence of a feast at all. The Witch says in a harsh manner, “What is the meaning of all this gluttony, this waste, this self-indulgence?” She thought a feast was a waste, no matter what it celebrates.
“I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,”
“Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
The kingdom of God is a place of truth, honesty and uprightness but also a place of delicious meals, physical comforts and elaborate beauty. Advent is a time of repentance and waiting, and it is also a time to celebrate the goodness of God and His creation. I pray you embrace the beauty and richness of the created world God has give me to us.
Questions for Reflection:
• In Christianity, both fasting and feasting have been traditional spiritual practices. Have you ever considered that “feasting” in Advent or at Christmas could be a celebration of the coming of Christ rather than just an indulgence or lapse in your diet?
• Why is being a miser, like the White Witch, counter to love and grace of God in Christ?
“Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
When speaking of armor, many will automatically think of warfare protection. All the items pictured above are essential for soldiers: Belts; Breast plate/Bullet Proof Vest; Shoes; Shield/Protection; Helmet/Head Gear; Sword/Knife/Weapon. When we read the words from Paul in Ephesians, we see the warfare articles explained and are encouraged to fight with TRUTH,RIGHTEOUSNESS, FAITH, SCRIPTURE, and the GOSPEL.
Advent seems like an odd time to talk about armor and warfare; as Advent is a time we celebrate: HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE. Advent is preparing our hearts and minds for Jesus, preparing a way for Christ to the world. This preparation is usually done in churches and communities around the world but due to the COVID-19 Pandemic it is challenging this season of Advent. Challenging it is but many have stepped up to the task at hand by using platforms like; Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, Twitter, Parler, WordPress, and so many others to bring people together and share the love of God.
The battles Paul described in Ephesians and using the full armor of God are against “the wiles of the devil” and “the rulers, the authorities, cosmic powers of this present darkness and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” ~Ephesians 6:11-12. God does not make us to look like a bunch of medieval knights, nor did He chose the following to be knights either; an old man and his wife traveling across the desert (Abraham/Sarah/Hagar); a sly kid who tricks his older brother out of a birthright (Jacob/Esau); a prisoner interpreting dreams (Joseph); a young woman agreeing to sacrifice her reputation and possibly her fiancée because God ask her to carry a child out of wedlock (Mary/Joseph). *See scripture references below.
Father Christmas did not bestow on the children all the same weapons of spiritual and physical defense but according to each child’s virtue. Likewise, God does the same for each of us. God’s anointing of such gifts comes from virtues such as: faith, cleverness, wisdom or humility. These gifts are to help us stand, stand firm and be prepared to proclaim the gospel of peace. We are to shine the light into places of darkness and sin in our world, stand against injustices. Are you ready? What is your calling? Some people are called to stand up at a protest; some are called to serve on boards at businesses and schools, some deliver speeches, other deliver meals while others share their financial resources with charities and their local communities. It’s not about big parts or little parts, not about a lot of money or no money; it is about using our time and talents for sharing the love and peace of God.
Take the armor God has given you seriously and prepare the way of the Lord, that “all the ends of the earth shall/will see the salvation of our God.” ~Isaiah 52:10
Questions for Reflection:
• What “battles” or causes need to be fought for in your town, neighborhood, or workplace? What issue is important enough to you to fight for it?
• What weapons or armor has God given you to stand against injustice or evil in your community?
Dear friends, Christmas is nearing quickly, are you ready?
Peter, Susan, Lucy and Mr. & Mrs. Beaver meet Father Christmas; He may look similar to Santa Claus, but he is more acutely like Jesus. He’s dressed in a red fur trimmed coat, long white beard, has a sleigh, and delivers gifts. He does not eat lots of cookies or laugh with a “HoHoHo” like a bowl full of jelly. C.S.Lewis writes this about Father Christmas; “He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.”
“’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” ~Clement Clarke Moore’
In the Bible we read that John the Baptist, announces Jesus’ coming and prepares the people for His ministry. ~Luke 3:3-4
Father Christmas comes to the children and gives them gifts to use to help conquer the White Witch, to be active participants in Aslan’s return. The gifts were given to each child uniquely and given according to their individual personalities and talents. Just as God, purposely created each human with specific talents to further His Kingdom and for each of us to become the person we were created to be. I love the phrase that is often used in church and in sermons, “using our time and our talents.”
Are you ready for Christmas?
Are you ready for Jesus’ birth?
Both of these are joy filled events and they both require courage. Be courageous in all you do and do it with a heart filled with goodness, gladness, kindness, love and HOPE!
Questions for Reflection:
• Which of Father Christmas’s gifts to the children are you most drawn o? How might that gift match your own gifts and talents, the way God has called you to help bring the good news of God’s love into the world?
— The medicine given to Lucy for healing.
• Why do you think Father Christmas has no gift for Edmund, even for his siblings to hold on to fit him, when later in the novel, he’s redeemed and joins in the fight?
— Edmund needs to repent and be redeemed by Aslan, only then will Edmund be ready to fully understand Narnia and it’s rich history and see his full potential and be reunited with his siblings.
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
Hello & Welcome to another Advent entry of “Advent in Narnia.” How are you feeling after reading the scripture verses for today and reading chapter 8? Lucy asks an interesting question after learning that Aslan is a Lion. “Is he safe?” a logical question indeed for a child. Mr. Beaver’s reply is, “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s a king.” After all, he is a Lion and they can be very ferocious! What about the verses from Malachi, it’s not your typical “Christmas “ story of sweet baby Jesus in a stable manger. At this stage in my life, I appreciate the pretty picture of Jesus’ birth but in reality, it was not pretty, it was not clean, not a sterile environment, no comforts, and definitely no epidurals(!). There’s a song I keep hearing on the radio that touches me heart each time I hear it and I am thankful I have the pretty visual of Jesus’ birth and now a more truthful one as well. I posted it in an earlier blog post but want to include it here for you as well…
Malachi describes a messenger of judgment, an avenging angel, and in Narnia a ferocious Lion. But, the more we read, study and learn, the messengers mission is not to avenge and punish but to purify and restore. If you have ever witnessed how precious metals are refined you know it is labor intense. When purification of wool or other textiles, the process includes harsh soaps and whitening procedures . The end results of these refinements reveals priceless things. This is true with dealing with human behaviors and addictions, reconciliation can only be achieved after much change and refinement. God does not want to punish us, He loves us and He only wants what’s best for us.
Mary and Joseph had difficult circumstances arise from the announcement of Mary’s pregnancy, to traveling while in her third trimester, the shadows of judgment from her family and friends but Mary and Joseph pressed on and had faith that God was in charge. The cost was high to be the parents of Jesus, each struggle prepared them for each challenge they would face in the future.
Jesus’ second coming…I am not sure what your experiences in church have been, mine…I heard a lot of “hell fire & brimstone” sermons growing up. Looking back it seems like a “scared straight” campaign. I believe religion just like everything else in this world cycles, in the 1970’s and 1980’s, many churches were preaching of Jesus’ return, I believe the hearts of ministers were in the right places but I would have appreciated a more balanced approach to learning about Jesus and His return. Perhaps a bit more love and compassion with the hell fire/brimstone. It seems like the past decade many sermons I hear are about love and compassion, almost too sweet and syrupy, little depth. The truth as I see it, you may or may not agree is that Jesus is all…brimstone, love and compassion. His return will be glorious and fearsome. Some good questions to ask ourselves would be; will it hurt? will it cost anything? how much will it cost? Jesus and Aslan are both good and they are both Kings.
Waiting for Jesus’ second coming is both exhausting and frightfully exciting. We want to be ready and we need to stay present in the day being alive, as we want to be Christ’s beloved.
Questions for Reflection:
•Do you think much about the second coming? What’s it like to imagine Jesus’ returning one day as a reality, rather than as described by a movie plot or fringe religious sect?
— Yes. Both exciting and terrifying;
• What in you might be in need of “refining”? How might it hurt? How might it be a relief?
— Everything, it’s a daily renewing. I accept I am human, fallible and sinful. I believe God loves me and created me. I seek to become the person He knows I was purposely made to be.
• Is it more challenging for you to imagine Christ as a dangerous bringer of judgment or as a loving, merciful redeemer? Why do you think that is?
— Based upon my background and sermons I’ve heard through the years I accept that both are true.
“Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.” But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. When he commits iniquity, I will punish him with a rod such as mortals use, with blows inflicted by human beings. But I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.”
Our story and devotional today is about a commonality between the House of David and the Witch Witch’s castle in Narnia. Both would eventually erode and fall apart. When speaking of the “House” and the “castle” out thoughts may lead us to a physical building, stone or wooden. The castle, was cold and made from ice, just like everything else in Narnia was frozen. And, what happens to ice when the sun shines upon it (?), it melts and breaks apart. And although David’s House was a real concrete place, what God meant was that David and all of Israel are a house and a throne for God(self). As we celebrate Advent, Jesus’ birth, Jesus became the house. In Jewish history, the Temple was called God’s house and even today many refer to the church as God’s house, both are true. As we discussed yesterday, Jesus when praying at the Passover referred to his body as the new Temple.
“The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”
Paul writes this in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” Another example is in John 15:4, “Abide in me as I abide in you.” Jesus said these words and was referencing that each of us is a house for God.
C.S.Lewis quotes George MacDonald in his book, “Mere Christianity” and it sums up and explains in great detail how God is truly abiding with and in us. Beautifully stated, in my humble opinion. *See reference below.
Switching back to our story “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” I believe the children were able to see what Narnia once was and could be again, from the stories/prophecies told by Mr. & Mrs. Beaver and Mr. Tumnus. The children joined Team Aslan. We too, have a choice of which team we want to represent, Team God/Jesus/Holy Spirit or the other team that has already proven unworthy and untrustworthy by falling from Heaven.
Questions for Reflection:
• Churches are meant to be safe and inviting places to encounter and deepen our relationships with God. How is your church living out it’s ministry as a house for God and God’s people? How could you play more of a role in that ministry?
— I am saddened by the empty churches since the COVID-19 pandemic is still soaring around the world. People are suffering, suffering from disconnectedness with friends and family and their communities of faith. I see first hand families that are suffering from depression and isolation. I continue to financially support my church but connection is difficult, we are all suffering, ministers and congregants alike. Prayer helps and knowing that God is always near is good for the soul but honestly, nothing changes a persons like a strong handshake, a full body hug, the touch of someone’s hand. These are the things that I miss and yearn for; as I know others do as well. I am deeply concerned for myself, my friends, my family, my colleagues, my church, my job, my financial future, the direction our country may be heading towards. I have more good days than bad, so I try not to beat myself up too much when I’m feeling down and more importantly, I try to be mindful of others having a not so good day. This is the time when we all need more patience , more understanding and more KINDNESS!
• Using the quotation from C.S.Lewis/George MacDonald, reflect on ways that God is building you into a palace for God(self)?
— I am reminded that God is merciful, slow to anger, full of love, eternal life, living, and everlasting.
Today our story in Narnia continues with chapter 9.
As our story continues, we last talked about Edmund sneaking out at dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Beaver. Edmund is mad at Peter and is craving Turkish Delight. Edmund leaves in such a rush, he forgets his coat. He’s to proud to return and retrieve it so he pushes onward to the Witch’s Castle. Edmund is dreaming of what the castle will be like, he was even picturing himself surrounded by luxury, power, and sweet revenge against his family. What he finds is a courtyard filled with frozen creatures and one ferocious wolf that almost has Edmund for dinner. The inside of the castle is cold, dark and quite gloomy. The White Witch is not at all pleased with Edmund that he came alone, and he receives no Turkish Delight, instead a stale piece of bread and a scolding from the Witch. C.S.Lewis captures the Witch’s house as this: a house is a castle, but no palace; it’s a dim, cold storage locker of statues with only one lamp illuminating the Witch and nothing else. It sounds like a completely dreadful place to be! It’s make one wonder why the White Witch lives like this (?), is it a statement (?), is she feeling something or does she feel anything at all; well, except for hate and revenge for all of Narnia. A writer, James Baldwin wrote, “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” Perhaps this is why Edmund seemed to like the Witch, a commonality with hate and dissatisfaction(?). The White Witch was so cruel and filled with so much vile hate, she destroyed her own kingdom and killed her sister rather than accept defeat.
Pain is part of the human experience. Without pain, no one could fully understand joy. God never promised to remove our pain, He promised to be with us in our pain. Jesus has experienced human pain, He willingly was born of flesh and blood, he experienced pain, rage, and rejection, He was crucified. So, there is no need for us to be afraid of pain, danger, or even death. In Christ Jesus, God pitches His tent (no castle) in our midst and is called Emmanuel—“God with us!”
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
“No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary: 1 Corinthians 10:13
But to this word of caution he adds a word of comfort, 1 Cor. 10:13. Though it is displeasing to God for us to presume, it is not pleasing to him for us to despair. If the former be a great sin, the latter is far from being innocent. Though we must fear and take heed lest we fall, yet should we not be terrified and amazed; for either our trials will be proportioned to our strength, or strength will be supplied in proportion to our temptations. We live indeed in a tempting world, where we are compassed about with snares. Every place, condition, relation, employment, and enjoyment, abounds with them; yet what comfort may we fetch from such a passage! For, 1. “No temptation,” says the apostle, “hath yet taken you, but such as is common to man, what is human; that is, such as you may expect from men of such principles as heathens, and such power; or else such as is common to mankind in the present state; or else such as the spirit and resolution of mere men may bear you through.” Note, The trials of common Christians are but common trials: others have the like burdens and the like temptations; what they bear up under, and break through, we may also. 2. God is faithful. Though Satan be a deceiver, God is true. Men may be false, and the world may be false; but God is faithful, and our strength and security are in him. He keepeth his covenant, and will never disappoint the filial hope and trust of his children. 3. He is wise as well as faithful, and will proportion our burden to our strength. He will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able. He knows what we can bear, and what we can bear up against; and he will, in his wise providence, either proportion our temptations to our strength or make us able to grapple with them. He will take care that we be not overcome, if we rely upon him, and resolve to approve ourselves faithful to him. We need not perplex ourselves with the difficulties in our way when God will take care that they shall not be too great for us to encounter, especially. 4. When he will make them to issue well. He will make a way to escape, either the trial itself, or at least the mischief of it. There is no valley so dark but he can find a way through it, no affliction so grievous but he can prevent, or remove, or enable us to support it, and in the end overrule it to our advantage. *Reference below
Questions for Reflection:
• In what other ways is the Witch’s house similar to the nature of her rule?
— Cold, not personal, unfriendly
• Are there ways you over-insulate yourself from harm or danger? Are there valuable experiences or relationships you might be missing as a result of this?
— Probably; most likely. Honestly, I do try to get out of my comfort zone, life is more challenging these days with COVID-19, but I am open to where God may be leading me.
• Is there someone in your life on whom you often focus blame or even hatred? Where does this blame or hate lead you?
— I have learned some very painful lessons in life, it’s not the mistakes we make that we should remember but the lessons we learn through the experience. None of us are perfect, it’s ok to hold people accountable but make sure you can also measure up to the same level you place on others.
Have you ever wondered what the Disciples thought when Jesus prayed at the Passover meal saying the words recorded in Matthew 26:26-28; Jesus “take and eat, this is my body; drink from the cup, this is my blood of the covenant. C.S.Lewis write this regarding these words of Jesus,“I don’t know and can’t imagine what the disciples understood our Lord to mean when, His body still unbroken and His blood unshed, He handed them the bread and wine, saying they were His body and blood”; and yet, “the command, after all, was Take; eat: not Take, understand.” *Reference below.
This was the truest of meals, not a metaphor, Jesus was completely human and completely God.
Maybe Lewis chose Aslan in our story because as a Lion he was big and strong; formidable creature of the wild; and sometimes eats humans(!). Both Jesus and Aslan are real, powerful, not just imaginary. Jesus is the true light, not simply a beam of light, Jesus is the wind not a puff of air.
As we continue our journey in Narnia and to the manger in the stable, let us also remember that Jesus was born human, to a human mother; he had a physical birth and a physical death. Just as the disciples may not have fully understood the words of Jesus, as we sometimes do not, and yet, Jesus is always present and offers Himself to each of us.
• Come follow me, Jesus is calling.
• Take; eat.
Blessings to you my dear friends, wishing you all the wonders this Advent Season has to offer.
Questions for Reflection:
• Have you ever experienced a Communion liturgy in the Advent season or on Christmas Eve? How did it feel to you? What connections or disconnects did you experience?
• Is it important for you to feel that you understand what Communion (or Eucharist) means? Why or why not?
• What makes Jesus feel physically real to you? Does that matter to your faith?
To follow along in the book, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” read chapters 7 and 8.
Communion and sharing a meal with others are at the top of my “favorite” things. There is something special when you sit and share a meal and conversation with people you care about. Even sharing with strangers is an opportunity to engage in conversation and learn something new. There’s a Bible verse that comes to mind, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” ~Matthew 18:20
In our story in Narnia, Mr. Beaver finds the children in the woods and takes them to safety at his home with Mrs. Beaver. The Beaver’s prepare a meal and share it with the children. They shared a meal of fish, caught by Mr. Beaver and the boys, potatoes with butter, hot cups of tea and a “great and glorious sticky marmalade roll.” After the meal, Mr. Beaver says to the children, “Why, now we can get to business.” This conversation becomes a critical turning point, a monumental moment in the story and in the lives of the children. Mr. Beaver tells the children about the “prophecy” Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve, and the return of Aslan. An important fact to be noted is that during the meal, Edmund left, snuck-out and went to find the White Witch, he was unsatisfied with the meal, he only desired more Turkish Delight, remember at his first encounter with the White Witch and eating Turkish Delight, “the bad magic food” as C. S. Lewis calls it.
The Last Supper
“So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
“While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
The betrayal of Jesus, who is it? “Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.”
It was the sharing in a meal and conversation that strengthened the children for their journey in Narnia and it was the same for the Disciples as they prepare for their ministry to spread the Gospel and Jesus’ love to all.
Advent and Christmas are indeed season of celebration, of sharing good food and loving conversations with those we love and with those in need of love, the Love of Jesus. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus often shared in meals with others, he was showing us how to live and love. May you experience the love of Jesus today and always~Peace!
Questions for Reflection:
• What are some ways you can make an ordinary meal more of a communion with God?
— You might consider lighting a candle
— Reflecting on moments of gratitude
— Playing special music
— Connecting with an old friend
• Is there any resentment or grief in your life that could be keeping you from receiving the hospitality of God or your loved ones? What could help you stay at the table and receive hospitality?
— I have learned over the past year that what I bring to the table is often my version of resentment and grief, I needed to be reminded that there are always two sides to every story/event. I only truly know what my experience felt like. Forgive yourself and forgive the ideas/notions of what others are feeling. Forgiveness is healing for yourself, stop carrying burdens that don’t belong to you. Life is too short, move on and move past the hurt, let healing have a fighting chance. I say these things not to forget the lessons I’ve learned or the people who I’ve hurt but in genuine sincerity that I am human, I mess up. Love and forgiveness need not be enemies.
Thank you all for your encouraging comments and your relentless support, it is noticed and appreciated. Come back tomorrow for another story of Advent in Narnia.
During the season of Advent we read about Angels and Messengers of God to Mary, Joseph, Zechariah and the Shepherds. C.S.Lewis in his Narnia stories does not use angels but he indeed makes use of messengers. Being a fan of Lewis, I love the imagery and relationships of the animals in Narnia as they relate to Aslan. And, in our world, how God uses others humans and Angels as His messengers.
The word “angel” in Hebrew and Greek is the same as the word for messenger.
Our story yesterday revealed a messenger for the children new to Narnia, a Robin who lead them to safety. Previously, we learned that the Beavers too were messengers, they helped the children to safety and explained the Aslan prophecy of the Sons of Adam and Daughter’s of Eve. I believe in Angels and messengers from God, I have experienced them. I have learned that trusting is all about taking that one first step forward. Mary trusted the Angel Gabriel, she had no idea what the future would hold but she loved God and knew of His goodness. Please be aware and mindful of God’s messengers in and around your life, whether they arrive in the form of birds, friends, or a glorious heavenly host!
Questions for Reflection:
• Have you ever had a feeling you’d been visited by an angel? What made you feel that way? Did you ever tell anyone else?
— I have often felt a strong presence when in familiar places that I had spent time with my mom. My mom died unexpectedly in 2012, the void remains but the pain has changed. I have two very specific memories of the last time I saw my mom alive…sitting in my blue car and the hug & kiss from her saying goodbye after a visit in the parking lot near where I live, two days before she passed.
• Have you ever felt God leading you in a direction you didn’t expect? What were the messengers or clues that signaled this to you? Did you end up following in that unexpected path or not? Why or why not?
— Yes! I was lead to become a more active member of my church, I was reluctant at first. It is difficult to put into words but simply answering yes, filled my heart like nothing had before. I am involved with two very special women’s group at my church, they support me and encourage me in ways I never expected. The groups are JULIETS and Esther’s Circle, a band of women, who are God’s angels and messengers to me and many more. My “yes” lead me to be an Elder, Bible Study leader, Christmas party coordinator, and Sunday school teacher. The COVID-19 Pandemic has made it extremely difficult to stay connected but we do our best.
Our story today follows along in chapter 6 of, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
In the story today, the children learn that Mr. Tumnus has been arrested. This news greatly concerned the children, it was during the quietness of this terrible news a Robin captures the attention of Lucy. The Robin it seems was trying to get the children to follow him through the forest. All of the children, well except for Edmund seemed eager to trust the Robin. Edmund tries to get Peter to agree with him and not follow but the older brother doesn’t give into Edmund. It was 3 against 1 in trusting the Robin. But Edmund had his own reasons for not wanting to trust the Robin, his secret about meeting the White Witch. It was Edmund’s encounter with the White Witch that had clouded his judgment and I’m sure he would love to have more Turkish Delight. Edmund was filled with fear and greed, fearful that his siblings would find out about his meeting and greedy because of what the White Witch could give him. Each sibling has brought with them their own set of experiences into Narnia and each has a different perspective based upon their life experiences.
What about Advent (?), we all come to the manger during this season every year. We, too all come from different life experiences and though we all seek the baby Jesus, and what we receive is as unique as we are. Many of you can relate to the phrase, “Life is a series of choices.” Too often, we simplify the phrase as meaning “good choices and bad choices.” What about something a bit more radical, choosing between two good choices (?), bad need not be part of the equation. Below are just a few ideas, there are millions more…
• Should I go sit with a friend or go to a party with another friend?
• Should I go to a Bible study or go help out at the local food bank.
• Should I read a book or watch a movie.
These are all examples of “good” things to choose from, it is our life experiences that helps to guide us to make the best good decision. Whether simplistic or monumental, serious or not, what we are deciding is who we will be and where we will place our trust. There is not a “right” decision in choosing whether to put your trust in book, a party or a Bible study, except in your own heart. In our book, the children must decide whether to follow Aslan or the White Witch, in our lives we must decide to follow God or not. Just as the Robin lead the children to safety in Narnia, God is leading and guiding us on our journey along with the Holy Spirit. God gave us an inner voice and previous experiences to help us make the right choices and to trust the right people. Plus, we have communities and loved ones to assist us when we are having feelings of uncertainty.
On a personal note, I feel enormously blessed to have my blogging community, my church family, my personal family, my work family, my housing community and so many others in my life.
Some interesting facts about Robin’s:
• Robin symbolism is linked to death as well as the arrival of spring and rebirth.
• They are also found near residential areas, and that shows that they are comfortable with humans.
• The Robin’s song is easy to recognize: it is sweet, melodious, and also wistful and melancholy – it symbolizes hope, rebirth, and also danger.
• Native Americans believed that all birds are messengers of the Gods and Goddesses. They honored most birds and regarded them as spirit guides. The robin is no different. The Natives believed robin sign of an angel as well as ‘relationship’ birds.
• Native Americans believed their message was about family, courtship, home, and the loving heart. Robins are not high fliers. They stick close to the ground. They live close to where humans live.
Questions for Reflection:
• Make a list of what you feel you “ought” to do this Advent and a list of what you “want” to do. What are the motivations behind the two lists? If they are out of balance, how could you better balance them?
• What signs, feelings, or urgings do you trust or follow when making serious decisions in your life?