Aslan is on the move. As I was reading Joshua this morning, these words from CS Lewis were awoken from the recesses of my memory and refreshed my heart.
Joshua begins, “After the death of Moses…” Their leader was dead, but God was not. He was working now in Joshua, being faithful to his covenant promises to his people. Aslan is on the move. I went back to where Mr. Beaver said these words in The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe and I think what follows is worth repeating:
And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning—either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in his inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.
Lewis has a way with words and a way with finding his way into each reader’s purview. When each child heard, “Aslan is on the move,” each had a different response. Edmund felt mysterious horror. Peter felt brave and adventurous. Susan’s artistic capacities were given weight. Lucy felt excitement for what is to come and for that feeling of newness.
So often I feel like I try to fit inside a one-size-fits-all Christianity and end up with an unsightly muffin top of personality spilling out. It’s refreshing to see that different people have different responses to Aslan. Sometimes even I have different responses to Aslan in the span of a few hours. Was the way that Lucy felt and experienced Aslan better than how Susan felt? That’s not the point; it’s the wrong question. Aslan will deal with each child, each heart, knowing the exact way that he’s wired and created each one. There is so much dignity with Aslan, so much freedom, so much so much. It’s hard to accept this dignity, this freedom, this much-ness. It’s so much easier to get a cookie cutter explanation of who we’re to be and how we’re to respond. But freedom, freedom is for people who trust the good God who knows them and wants them whole-self. Hiding ourselves gets us nowhere. That’s something Job’s friends never got and something I’ll be learning in every corner of life.
God is not stingy. God is not a killjoy. God is full of grace. Aslan in on the move.