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In third grade, I discovered the Chronicles of Narnia. The books have been inseparable from me ever since. As an adult, I still love reading the stories. The audio books are a particular favorite whenever I take a solo road trip.
There’s something about story and metaphor that captures imaginations and hearts, drawing us in a different way to see the world, God, and ourselves. Jesus certainly knew the power of story; parable was his forte.
The lectionary Psalm for this Sunday, Psalm 29, immediately made me think of a story from the Chronicles of Narnia: the Magician’s Nephew. But before I share the story, first hear these words from today’s lectionary Psalm, which paint with beautiful and powerful imagery:
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
– Psalm 29:4-9
The Psalmist proclaims the voice of the Lord is powerful enough to break, shake, and cause creation to skip with joy. The Lord’s voice exposes and moves creation to delight. The voice of God is inextricably tied to the life of the world.
C.S. Lewis used the imagery of a magical world called Narnia to describe something about God and God’s relationship to God’s people. In the Chronicles of Narnia, he used a lion named Aslan to metaphorically represent Jesus. In The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis creates a scene where the world of Narnia comes to life through Aslan’s voice. Lose yourself for a moment in this children’s story:
The Lion was pacing to and fro about that empty land and singing his new song. It was softer and more lilting than the song by which he had called up the stars and the sun; a gentle, rippling music. And as he walked and sang the valley grew green with grass…
Can you imagine a stretch of grassy land bubbling like water in a pot? For what is really the best description of what was happening. In all directions it was swelling into humps. They were of very different sizes; some no bigger than mole-hills, some as big as wheelbarrows, two the size of cottages. And the humps moved and swelled till they burst, and the crumbled earth poured out of them, and from each hump there came out an animal…
Then there came a swift flash like fire (but it burnt nobody) either from the sky or from the Lion itself, and every drop of blood tingled in the children’s bodies, and the deepest, wildest voice they had ever heard was saying: “Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.”
The voice of God is powerful. It breathes life. Both the Psalmist and C.S. Lewis use imagery to describe how the Lord’s voice has power over the created world in particular.
God’s voice also penetrates human hearts. God’s voice through scripture and the Holy Spirit creates, shakes, breaks, moves, and delights our hearts, souls, and lives.
Where might the delightful, wild, and powerful voice of God be speaking in your world and heart?
What part of God’s story shown to us in scripture is breaking your pride, causing you to skip with joy, or moving you to live with courage in the world?
May the voice of God be ever singing in our world and in our hearts.