“They were in Lucy’s room, sitting on the edge of her bed and looking at a picture on the opposite wall. It was a picture of a ship—a ship sailing straight towards you. Her prow was gilded and shaped like the head of a dragon with a wide-open mouth. She had only one mast and one large, square sail which was a rich purple. The sides of the ship—what you could see of them where the gilded wings of the dragon ended—were green. She had just run up to the top of one glorious blue wave, and the nearer slope of that wave came down towards you, with streaks and bubbles on it.…all three children were staring with open mouths. What they were seeing may be hard to believe when you read it in print, but it was almost as hard to believe when you saw it happening. The things in the picture were moving. It didn’t look at all like a cinema either; the colours were too real and clean and out-of-doors for that. Down went the prow of the ship into the wave and up went a great shock of spray. And then up went the wave behind her, and her stern and her deck became visible for the first time, and then disappeared as the next wave came to meet her and her bows went up again. At the same moment … Lucy felt all her hair whipping round her face as it does on a windy day. And this was a windy day; but the wind was blowing out of the picture towards them. And suddenly with the wind came the noises—the swishing of waves and the slap of water against the ship’s sides and the creaking and the overall high steady roar of air and water. But it was the smell, the wild, briny smell, which really convinced Lucy that she was not dreaming… a great cold, salt splash had broken right out of the frame and they were breathless from the smack of it, besides being wet through…”
So begins The Voyage of the Dawn Treader from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. At face value it is a beautiful children’s story about a sea voyage. But Lewis intends us, young and old, to view it as a parable about life. More especially about discovering the purpose in life. And along the way, understanding the insidious power of evil, learning to resist temptation, and realising that rescue can only come from another realm. The realm of Aslan. Remember the first time you entered the world of Narnia? And came under the mesmerising spell of the evil White Witch who makes it “Always winter, never Christmas”… But the redemption of Narnia and the end of the White Witch’s reign has been prophesied and the arrival of “sons of Adam and daughters of Eve”, is a sign that the coming of Aslan as the rightful King is near. Clearly Aslan is a picture of the Lord Jesus. How do you feel about Jesus portrayed as a lion? Jesus is actually described as a lion in the first and the last books of the Bible. In Genesis, is this prophecy.
“You’re a lion’s cub, Judah, my son. Look at him, crouched like a lion, king of beasts; who dares mess with him? The sceptre shall not leave Judah; he’ll keep a firm grip on the command staff; Until the ultimate ruler comes and the nations obey him.” (Genesis 49: 9-10)
And in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John, is told, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.” (Revelation 5:5)
But why the name Aslan? Simple. Aslan is Turkish for ‘lion’. The abiding message of Narnia, so powerfully re-told in the new film, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is that God calls us to a grand adventure, an epic journey that will never end to know him and make him known. As Prince Caspian exclaims, “Think of the lost souls we are here to save”.