This afternoon I went to see Narnia. It was probably not as good as I had anticipated, as far as big block-buster special effects movies go. The lion was not always believable, and it didn't feel other-worldly enough for the vividly imagined Narnia of my childhood. The children acted fairly well, certainly more appealing than the bumbling Ron etc of Harry Potter. I liked Lucy. She seemed to capture a child-like rapture and faith. It's a good story, and I am sure that most people will enjoy it, but i am not sure that it will be the big conversion flick as promoted in some Christian circles. The parallelism is blindingly obvious as a Christian. However, if I did not know the Christian narrative, I am not so sure that I would come out wondering about Jesus (factoring out the possibility of a sovereign act of God).
Having said that, the film impacted me more on a spiritual level than possibly anything else I have seen in a good while. Edmund is deliciously naughty, and one feels torn between compassion for him and despising his flaws that enable him to betray his family for "a few sweeties" as the wily queen of ice points out. The audience obviously does not want him to perish for his crimes, as it seems as though he suffered enough. Yet the price had to be paid for the sake of the magic of the land. Easy to accept in a fantasy world. A hard truth to grapple with in our earthy existence. Why not forgive and forget? The incredible sacrifice of Aslan the lion is moving, and seems hugely unfair. Beautifully told, Clive Staples Lewis. In these scenes he captures the incredible act of Jesus with great simplicity and power, in a way that makes sense and breaks the heart. The quality of the film rendition scarcely matters here. The point is made, deeply. My connection with the salvation story throughout this film was deeper than I can express in words.
Another part that spoke to me was earlier in the film, when Peter is beset by a taunting wolf. Aslan saves him from the others that would otherwise have overpowered Peter, and one of Aslan's army offers to do away with the remaining wolf. Aslan stops him, saying that Peter was to fight this one himself. We are not just passive recipients of God's protection, provision. We need to stand! God will not let us be overcome, but we can have victory over the things that come our way, knowing that God is there with us in the midst of the battle. It was a defining moment for Peter – his first kill, and the seed of his courage was born. The Christian life is not an easy one, it is not simply a lovely little walk in the park. It is rough, dangerous, exciting, and one that requires courage. Courage that is founded in God, but exercised by us.