Here we are passing the midway of April, and for those of us in parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, after a few weeks of dreary, wet, challenging weather. For me, the reality of pandemic awareness, the struggles of adapting to ever-changing aspects of work and society, combined with a lack of sun and limited outside physical activity has dulled my Easter celebrating.
In my interactions with others this week, I have listened to those that are struggling. Some persons that have been facing the weight of challenges in their lives seem to be buckling under the combinations of stress and anxiety, poor weather, and loss of focus because this pandemic seems unending.
I am reminded that even in the midst of this, the Easter call as Christians is to celebrate the resurrection and to live a life in response to the gift of the resurrection. In some ways, the heaviness of this past time seems to have clouded many persons’ expressions of hope, love, and healing. Perhaps all of that has gotten lost in the days of unending fog?
Into this reality, I find that I am returning to age-old children’s stories, to make sense of the reality of our situation. For me, a favourite is The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. The themes of betrayal, redemption, hope, hopelessness, anticipation, and love are present in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in particular. It is a children’s story, and in particular, an allegorical narrative of the Christian worldview, yes, nonetheless, the images and themes are helpful for us all, I believe.
In particular, I share with you two images: early in the story, the world of Narnia is locked in the evil of the White Witch, so that it is “always winter, never Christmas.” When I contemplate parts of this pandemic we are living through, I can’t help but be reminded of the imagery of waiting every day amid storm and snow, wind and cold, with no possibility of a Christmas celebration. As I looked out in the fog this week, I did wonder whether there was a ‘fog witch’ as much as Narnia had a White Witch.
The second is the persons of the White Witch and Aslan. The White Witch in the story turned those who disagreed with her into stone. So, in the courtyard of the Royal Castle, there were numerous stone statues of her victims.
When the Jesus figure (Aslan) is sacrificed willingly for the redemption of a child, the stone table of sacrifice is cracked in two. The world of Narnia is reminded of the deeper magic from before the beginning of the world. This magic enables Aslan to be resurrected, as a larger, more powerful lion, that commands all creation, offers healing and redemption to all those that have suffered and died.
Susan and Lucy encounter the resurrected lion, and they join him as he bounds over the castle walls and breathes on each of the stone statues restoring them to life.
In the end, this is a story. For me, since childhood, it has been forever real. For me, the Holy One restores our lives when we are lost and hurting, turns our winters into Christmases, and enables our stone hearts and lives to experience joy, wonder, hope, and love.
This is what I hope for when I look through fog and cloud when I am whipped around by wind and rain.
Let us in our own ways, and through our journeys with the Holy One and others, have our seasons transformed, and our hearts melted. It is the time and the place for love, redemption, hope, and wonder.
Even in a pandemic.