"You Can't Get Back By That Way".
I went to see the acclaimed 'Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe' yesterday and was more than impressed. The film seemed to me to; 1. Stick Closely to the Script of the Book. 2. Astonish Greatly With Effects. 3. Loyal to the Gospel. It takes a lot to get me to the cinema - mainly because I dont like sitting for that long! But this is a top 10 favourite - that will definately get me back to see it again. Only Harry Potter, Starwars and the Rings have managed that.
The best thing for me was that irritatingly, over-used quote from Mr Beaver concerning Aslan; "He's not a tame lion" was left out. (Ref for example: Carson, "Becoming Conversant With the Emerging Church, p47 - its on his wall!). It did however just scrape it in at the end through the blue-eyed Mr Tumnus. The quote is over-used by well-meaning preachers I mean, not Mr Beaver. Yes we KNOW He's not a tame lion! Narnia has a whole HOST of other quotes!! To use another hero from another film; "Free your minds!".
The quote of the film that did grab me though was almost missed just beyond the end of the credits. Lucy sneaks back in to the room to see the Wardrobe and presumably attempt to re-enter Narnia. Though this exact scene isn't in Lewis' book, it is a great scene, because the Professor is already in the room. And he tells her;
"Oh you can't get in by that way. Believe me I've already tried ... Oh you'll go back. Once a King or Queen in Narnia - always a King or Queen. But it'll happen when you least expect it. Still ... I'd keep your eyes open if I were you".
This speaks to me of remarkable 'seasons of refreshing', of high mountain top times with God, when His Presence is powerfully upon His people in an active sense. Such is the Land of Narnia! Narnia was never meant to represent heaven - after all, it has a White Witch, a Green Witch and a whole host of other foes! But still it was meant to represent heavenly, awesome times.
The best way I can illustrate what I mean, is to speak of Stoneleigh Bible Week. My first time there was 2000; "History in the Making". And what a time it was! I was somewhat puzzled to hear Terry Virgo speak less than enthusiastically about those who spoke to him, exalting Stoneleigh and lamenting the fact that it only happened once a year. I felt quite an affinity with those unfortunate wrong souls because I was in a cessationist, anti-charismatic church at the time. Stoneleigh WAS the closest thing to heaven I had experienced!!
Yet 2001 came and Stoneleigh was closed down ... because God had spoken!?!? It was helpful for me to attend the 'Heart of the Nation' Conference organised by Newfrontiers at the Stoneleigh Showground itself the summer after Stoneleigh 2001. We met to worship and hear Dave Holden and Dave Devenish in a small conference centre at the side of the showground. While 'Heart of the Nation' was amazing, it was somewhat gut-wrenching to look out the window at the showground. Empty. Desolate. The Cloud of Glory had moved on!
Similiarly I went down to Brighton, a month after the awesome Brighton Leaders Conference 2005 - to visit friends at CCK. Yet again to walk past the Brighton Conference Centre was poignant. The centre was empty! The Cloud of Glory had moved on!
Both of these occasions, I knew I couldn't get back to that high point of communion with God by going to the Stoneleigh showground - or to the Brighton Conference centre - or even maybe to a pastor's office (Pete!!). Not that way ...
Thank God we meet at Brighton next year!! He hasn't stopped that conference ... yet! But remember the Professor's advice to Lucy. "You never know when ...". God's Spirit has been poured out - by His Spirit He is building His Church!! And we don't have to go to a particular conference centre, or showground, or Tabernacle, or pastor's office to have a high mountain-top moment of communion with Him. We never know when He might fall like rain from heaven!! Remember Spurgeon's words from my last post! Are we receiving?? HAVE we received of His Spirit?!? If not - let us cry for His Presence ... NOT His Presents!! (Ref: my wise mum). I seek that high point with God again! But I know it may not be by "That Way". And I promise - I am keeping my eyes open!!