Some Thoughts on Aslan
January 11, 2017
Our middle child and her husband bought me a first printing of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” for last Father’s Day. There is a wonderful backstory to this gift that I won’t tell at this point. Suffice it to say that I just reread the book. Again, I was blessed by Lewis’s symbol and metaphor. You are probably aware of the conversation about Aslan, the Christ figure, between Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, Susan and Lucy. Aslan is the good King who should make us nervous. It goes like this:
Aslan a man? Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the woods and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh!” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about being safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
This time through the book I noticed a few lines that I hadn’t remembered. Once again they were about Aslan. They are at the tail end of a long, pregnant paragraph describing Lucy and Susan frolicking with Aslan. It expresses the tension of the previous quote in a more tangible way. The paragraph ends this way:
It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind. And the funny thing was that when all three finally lay together panting in the sun the girls no longer felt in the least tired or hungry or thirsty.
Who knows all that Lewis had in mind with these words? Certainly there is the idea that Aslan (Jesus) is the One who is both the thunderstorm and the kitten. It is good to keep both ideas in mind. He both kills and delights. Finally, when in the presence of Jesus our needs are met (Or, is it that the glow of His presence overwhelms the senses to the point that we find fulfillment?). It seems to me that Lewis is pointing to Jesus reminding readers of who He is and how He satisfies. This is truth that I need to be reminded of every day.