It’s a grey, rainy Sunday. The bare trees outside accentuate the bleak weather. Slush and ice mark the sidewalk and street as if saying to me “It is, after all, February! What really do you expect?”
It may be bleak outside, but it is warm and contemplative inside. It is these days when I am most grateful for home, most grateful for the warmth of hot tea and homemade bread.
Our Lenten journey begins in a week and along with some other Lenten reading, I will begin to read The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis.
The Last Battle is the final book in the Narnia series and begins with the story of Puzzle, a donkey, who thinks he is not very clever. He is manipulated by Shift, a crafty old ape, into wearing an old, lion’s skin found in a river at the western edge of Narnia. Shift convinces Puzzle that finding the lion’s skin is a sign and that they should proceed as messengers of the great Lion, Aslan.
Word comes to Tirian, King of Narnia, that Aslan has returned, but there are signs that this is not the true Aslan. Accompanied by Jewel, his unicorn and trusted friend (after all, this is Narnia!) Tirian heads off to find out what is going on for himself.
The book is full of powerful story telling and the battle between good and evil, and this is why it is such good Lenten reading.
It is during Lent that I am more aware of this battle within and around me; during Lent that I learn more of what it is to say no to the sovereign self. It is during Lent that I am more aware that truth can be manipulated, and that I can never get enough of that which “almost satisfies.”
So in this journey, where I move further up and further in to the mystery of my faith, I think of these words from The Last Battle:
“Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek…And since then, O Kings and Ladies, I have been wandering to find him and my happiness is so great that it even weakens me like a wound. And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me Beloved, me who am but as a dog.”
Further up and further in on the journey, reflecting on the battle between good and evil, and the wonder of being God’s beloved.