C.S Lewis is one of my spiritual heroes, and by all accounts one of the reasons that I still have faith. So the fact that I'm writing this blog at the very table where the Inklings -the group of writing legends that included CS Lewis and JR Tolkien- used to meet regularly to discuss their stories and dream their dreams is almost surreal to me. Classics such as Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia were birthed and nurtured in this little pub in the middle of Oxford. (The blessing that is my life hasn't escaped me. Who gets to do these things?)
I came to check out the pub and see where these giants of the imagination did life, but I sat down at this table for some magic. For some inspiration.
It sounds silly, but I thought...
maybe if I sat where they sat and ate where they ate, I could dream like they dreamed.
maybe whole worlds could flow from my imagination; Worlds flowing with life and beauty, and quirky characters and epic battles, and rescuing beauties and discovering deep truths.
maybe God could grab hold of my imagination like He did when I first read Narnia - when I wept because through Lewis' portrait of Aslan, I saw a God who was way better than I had ever been told or even hoped He could be.
And maybe, just maybe, God is writing me into a great story, and this could be a sweet chapter in it.
One of my favorite things Lewis ever said is,
"Half the power in a great story is that we really wish it were true."
We really wish that dragons were real and that a brave knight had to rescue a princess while battling the beast. We really hope that the ancient Incas were warned by their spirit guides who read the night sky that the Spanish were coming to destroy them, and that they built their cities higher and higher into the Andes in hopes of safety. We really want David to have killed Goliath. I really want Rafiki to have knocked Simba over the head with a stick to remind him who he is and help him achieve his destiny.
And that's half the reason that I believe in Jesus. I believe that God has written eternity on all men's hearts, but even more than that, I believe that He has ingrained in our DNA the desire to live a great story, to live a life of meaning and purpose.
To rescue the beauty
To give ourselves for a cause greater than our own
To set this world right again.
If we sit still for a few minutes and let our minds wander, I think deep down, we all know that we were made for something more- to be caught up into something bigger. That something is wrong with this world, and it needs to be made right. That we were made for more than the life we are living.
Here's why I know this to be true: in the thousands of years before God took on flesh and blood and entered into the human story, our ancestors all over the world were telling legends and myths that, while being unique to their culture and time, contained the same core elements- the world was good, something went wrong, and we needed a hero to come and make it right, usually by dying for the cause. From Hercules to Lion King, from the ancient tales of middle eastern literature to the legends of King Arthur, the need for a savior has been woven into the imagination. And then, when Jesus of Nazareth was born into a little manger in a small middle eastern town, the legend of the Savior entered into history. Imagination became reality. Myth became fact.
I'm glad that I walk with a God who gave us an imagination to give our hearts context to hear His story.
What dreams is He giving you?
What story is He asking you to imagine for your life?
Is it becoming reality?
Are you letting Him write it?