Friday, October 11, 2013

The Deeper Magic

In late September, I went to hear some really smart people talk about one of my favorite authors, C. S. Lewis.

Who Lewis was and his massive influence as a Christian author is another post for another time. What I want to share here is the short paragraph from one of the conference speakers, Joe Rigney. His talk was the highlight of the conference for me - the one where I couldn't write notes fast enough. The one where I was silently saying "Yes! Yes!" the whole time.

As I look at the last sentence I just wrote, those "yeses" look happy to me. His talk didn't make me "happy." Happy is not...enough. It's a bit too shallow. Rigney's talk took me out in deeper waters. It was enlightening as well as sobering. It was inspiring as well as humbling. It reminded me just how kin Edmund and I are. (Edmund is the traitor in Lewis' book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.) Rigney's words made me want to fall on my face before God, who saved an underserving me just like Aslan saved an undeserving Edmund, and say, "Why, God? Why would you do that for me? Why do you do that for any of us? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

The snippet at the end of this post may not hit you like it hit me, but I hope it whets your appetite enough that you'll want to listen to Rigney's talk. If you like Narnia - if you like Lewis - I think you'll be inspired by it. You can find it here.

Joe Rigney, seminar, “Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles” —
We are, all of us, en-storied creatures, living our lives in a narrative, which means our lives have directions, trends, and trajectories. And Lewis is mindful of the fact that these trajectories are governed by an Author who is not mocked, who tells us that we will reap what we’ve sown. … Lewis is clear: we are always sowing the seeds of our future selves. We are embarked, heading in a particular direction, and sooner or later we are bound to end up there. Edmund reminds us that we might not like the destination at the end of our road. When it comes time to reap, we may find ourselves tied to a tree with a dagger at our necks. But, of course, Edmund’s story isn’t a tragedy. Yes, it’s true; reaping always follows sowing, like night follows day. But in this case, Aslan reaps what Edmund has sown. Edmund’s treachery, Edmund’s spite, Edmund’s beastliness is thrown onto Aslan and the Lion bears it away in his death at the Stone Table. This is the Magic of substitution, the Deeper Magic that turns traitors into kings, that turns beastly boys into just and wise men, the kind of magic that changes our stories forever.

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