Rev Hilary Howarth – 16th January 2022

Is He Safe?

Last Friday night Les and I went, at last, to the Lowry Theatre in Salford to see their production of “The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe”. I say “at last” because the tickets were a gift for Les’ birthday back in 2020, but it was most definitely worth waiting for as it was a wonderful production and we both highly recommend it. In C. S. Lewis’s novel

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, of The Chronicles of Narnia series, four children pass through the doors of the wardrobe to find the kingdom of Narnia imprisoned under the spell of the White Witch. Aslan the lion, who is the king of Narnia, is nowhere to be found. Although rumour has it “He is on the move,” he appears to have abandoned his kingdom to the White Witch, who spends her leisure time turning the inhabitants into stone statues.

The four children set out to explore this strange new country. They come across Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, a husband and wife still faithful to Aslan. The Beavers assure the children that Aslan is about to return to set things right and faced with this scary but exciting news, the children question what Aslan is like’

“Is—is he a man?” asked Lucy. “Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not! I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Aslan is a lion—the lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Adults and children alike in the theatre loved the story of Narnia and Aslan the lion. I wondered how many people in the theatre realised though that C S Lewis wrote it as a metaphor for Jesus. Aslan the lion dies in place of Edmund, one of the children who betrays his siblings and friends and through his death sets
the whole of Narnia free from the White Witch. After his death the children grieve him until Aslan returns from the dead. To those who knew, this is the story of Jesus Christ being enacted right before our eyes.

“Is he safe?” asks Lucy. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you” responds Mrs Beaver.

Those words particularly make me think of Jesus. Is he safe? On one hand, we find security in his love and blessing but most certainly I have never found Jesus to be “safe”. He is good, kind, loving and compassionate but definitely not safe. Being “safe” would have meant he’d not have disturbed the status quo by doing such things as overturning the tables of the money changes in the Temple, being safe would have meant fitting in and conforming to the norms of his society and religious teachings and Jesus never did those things. Being safe would have meant not causing offence or making waves. Which makes me think – do I look to be “safe”?

I can’t speak for you of course, but I find myself too often wanting to play it safe and wondering if we as followers of Jesus prefer safety over risky living.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you offer comfort and a place of security but thank you also that you are not safe and if you were it would lessen your power and glory. Amen