Mary and I have been reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to Isaac as he crawls into bed every night this week. The smell of Narnia is thick in his room as we turn on his turtle star projector, and turn off the lamp posts. He’s about to meet Aslan. We can’t wait.
The wardrobe through which C.S. Lewis invited us all into the magical world of Narnia was built by his grandfather Hamilton. That wardrobe is now at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. But for years, it remained at the Kilns, the house where C.S. Lewis wrote all seven Chronicles of Narnia.
In Telling Secrets, Frederick Buechner writes about a time when C.S. Lewis was still living at the Kilns, when he was awakened in the night by a terrible banging. He discovered that a visiting child had climbed into the wardrobe, and was trying to beat his way into Narnia through the back of the wardrobe.
I love that.
Can’t you imagine a bold seven year old, convinced that the Hogwarts Express was waiting for her, resolutely marching towards that brick wall in between platforms 9 & 10 at King’s Cross Station in London?
As adults, we know better. We know there really isn’t a Platform 9 & ¾. We know that wardrobes do not lead into magical lands. We know hobbits don’t exist, and rings are just rings.
We also know that miracles don’t happen, people can’t really change, and tomorrow will be a repeat of today. We know that it doesn’t pay to be vulnerable, that there really isn’t enough, and beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder, it’s airbrushed onto the cover of Cosmopolitan.
But on Sunday, we celebrate Easter, the day when winter’s long reign ended, and the drip-drip-drip of new life began. On Sunday, we glimpse a reality that eclipses our airbrushed stories. On Sunday, we celebrate Easter, and the empty tomb, through which we glimpse something magical and unnerving at the same time.
Easter boldly declares: the old is gone; the new has come.
Easter gently whispers: this is your story; the one for you.
Easter gladly announces, in the words of my son Ben:
Perhaps you need to climb into a wardrobe, or head towards that brick wall, in order to remember the part you play in that Story.
I’m convinced that’s at least part of what Jesus meant, when, with a wink and a knowing grin, He told us that we need to become like children if we are to enter His Kingdom.