I’ve just had the joy of rereading the Narnia series and have once again fallen in love with Aslan. CS Lewis has worked magic in revealing the beauty and power of Jesus Christ, through this wild, strong lion. My favourite part comes just after the witch, thinking she has finally conquered Aslan, slaughters him on the stone table. The girls are devastated, feeling as though all is lost. But suddenly…
Aslan is alive! He is real, not a ghost. He licks Susan’s forehead. The girls are overjoyed and throw themselves on him, kissing him repeatedly. When they calm down, Susan asks: “But what does it all mean?”
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little farther back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”
In the communities where it looks as though the darkness has already won, death itself works backwards. Up out of the cold, hard concrete pavements in our city, new green shoots spring up. From the darkest corners where you would expect only the smell of death and betrayal to be in the air, we hear echoes of belly laughter ricocheting off the brothel walls and inhale the delicious homecoming smells of new life. Our God is doing a new thing.
Life is coming out of death, in the community we work in.
Because he lives, everything is possible.
The Kingdom of God spreads in an unassuming ‘if you’re distracted you’ll miss it’ kind of way. It is not a loud, angry march and a hostile takeover. It is the slow coming of a new dawn, as God reveals Gods-self to one woman. It is her trust and confidence in him growing, as she begins to depend in the goodness of her God. It is the spark in her eyes, the spring in her step that eventually catches the eye of her neighbour. It’s in the question ‘what’s happened to you, you are different?’ And it’s in her answer, ‘Jesus has changed me. He is setting me free’.
The Kingdom of God is a tiny, flickering single flame, surrounded by utter darkness. Against the stark backdrop of midnight black, it radiates out. The fire begins to catch. Soon the darkness is dotted with brilliant sparks that cannot be ignored. It reveals. It confounds. It angers. But the flame will never be extinguished. It will transform the darkness.
For the safety and security of our overseas team, the writer of this article will remain anonymous.