|June 2021 COME FURTHER UP, COME FURTHER IN!|
|n The Last Battle, the final book in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis depicts the end of Narnia…and entering the new Narnia. An excerpt follows.|
It is as hard to explain how this sunlit land was different from the old Narnia as it would be to tell you how the fruits of that country taste. Perhaps you will get some idea of it if you think like this. You may have been in a room in which there was a window that looked out on a lovely bay of the sea or a green valley that wound away among mountains. And in the wall of that room opposite to the window there may have been a looking-glass. And as you turned away from the window you suddenly caught sight of that sea or that valley, all over again, in the looking glass. And the sea in the mirror, or the valley in the mirror, were in one sense just the same as the real ones: yet at the same time they were somehow different — deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story: in a story you have never heard but very much want to know. The difference between the old Narnia and the new Narnia was like that. The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more. I can’t describe it any better than that: if ever you get there you will know what I mean.
It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then he cried:
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that is sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!”
He shook his mane and sprang forward into a great gallop — a Unicorn’s gallop, which, in our world, would have carried him out of sight in a few moments. But now a most strange thing happened. Everyone else began to run, and they found, to their astonishment, that they could keep up with him: not only the Dogs and the humans but even fat little Puzzle and short-legged Poggin the Dwarf. The air flew in their faces as if they were driving fast in a car without a windscreen. The country flew past as if they were seeing it from the windows of an express train. Faster and faster they raced, but no one got hot or tired or out of breath.
1Let us rejoice that we have the hope of a new earth where we will dwell with our Lord Jesus Christ forever.
|“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens|
and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”2 PETER 3:13 (ESV)
|1 C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle, HarperTrophy, 2000, pp. 195-197.|
© 2021 C.S. Lewis Institute. “Reflections” is published monthly by the C.S. Lewis Institute.
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Cast Forward by Love
Song of becoming, break in the dawn’s plea
Come, for the moments that hasten to see
Where is the daylight, the promise of heart
Cast from the dreams of yesterday’s part.
Journey remembered from stories ago
Left in the embers, lived in life’s glow.
Carry the fire, Your Light forward though
Here in the walk that burrows hearts pew.
Listen to the whispers that hope, that plea.
Listen to the cries that rise to be free.
Song of becoming, we are formed here to pray,
Carried by The Life that Lights our way.
Journey remembered from stories ago
Left in the embers, lived in life’s call-
Come yet tomorrows, far greater than these,
Cast forward by Love, the Hope that leads all.
© 2020 Linda Willows
Jerimiah 29:11 —For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Psalm 139:23-24 —Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
Ephesians 3:9 —And to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
CS Lewis on Hope
In Mere Christianity, Lewis writes:
Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.
It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.
It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither. It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters.
Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more—food, games, work, fun, open air. In the same way, we shall never save civilization as long as civilization is our main object. We must learn to want something else even more.
Most of us find it very difficult to want “Heaven” at all—except in so far as “Heaven” means meeting again our friends who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained: our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world. Another reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we do not recognize it.
Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.
Help me, O Lord my God; save me for your mercy’s sake.
Mere Christianity, by C.S.Lewis