72457109Went to see the movie “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” with my cell group members last night. Only the actors that played Lucy and Mr Tumnus seemed to be in their roles. The rest were merely playing theirs. And most of the time the White Witch was rather stiff (reminded me of one of the puppets from the original Thunderbirds) coming to life only in her Queen Boedicia scenes in the final battle. And yes I have seen fiercer lions on Animal Planet. But “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” remained true to the spirit of C. S. Lewis’s book.

Written in 1950, with the horrors of World War Two still fresh and the wounds of that war still bleeding, Narnia mirrored the real world in asking what should we do when evil seems to be so pervasive and so powerful. (The opening scenes of the London blitz should have brought back some nightmares to survivors of that horror.) What should be our response to evil?

At the very least we should not cooperate with it. Like Mr Tumnus we choose not to obey commands that are evil. In the Scriptures we have folks like Shiphrah and Puah, the midwives who refused a royal command to kill the Jewish male babies that they delivered(Exodus 1:15 -21). But as the movie showed, even a step of passive resistance could result in painful consequences. Like the apostles we must choose to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

But there will be times when we just have to face up to evil no matter the cost. And whatever your take on just wars, let it be said that the biblical weapons of our warfare are not of this world (2 Corinthians 10:4).

They include:

1. Exposing evil. Calling evil what it is (Mark 6:17-29). I guess that sometimes this will require whistle blowing.

2. Prayer and other items of the armour of God (Ephesians 6:10 -20).

3. The proclamation of the gospel (Romans 1:16).

4. The demonstration of sacrificial love (John 15:13).

5. Forgiveness (Acts 7:54 – 60).

6. Willingness to suffer and even to die for what is right (Revelation 12:11).

7. Speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

And we mustn’t forget our need for defensive weapons. Evil packs the double punches of seduction and persecution, Turkish delights and the dungeon. We must be ever vigilant, holding always to the truth of God and the God of truth.

No one in their right minds enjoys wars, spiritual or otherwise. But Christians, being realists, know that until Christ returns we will always have wars and the rumours of wars. And this world will be the battle ground between good and evil.

Sometimes the battle will take the shape of key decisions we need to make at the major crossroads of our lives. Often they take the shape of the many small choices we make everyday.

Unfortunately there is also the sad reality that as much as we would all like to be as brave and strong as Peter, most of us will probably end up like Edmund, fumbling, betraying the truth and Him who is the Truth. Indeed if anyone in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” that qualifies to be everyman, its Edmund. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Daily we are tempted and often we make Edmund like choices. We betray God. We betray those closest to us.

Which is why the turning point of the movies is not the final climatic battle. It is Aslan’s lonely terrible sacrifice at the Stone Table, his willing laying down of power and the giving of his life for Edmund’s. As much as Lewis may not have intended for the Narnian chronicles to be allegories you can’t get a better allegory of Jesus death on the Cross than this.

The Cross. Here is assurance and model. We stay the course in our battle against evil because we know That Jesus has worn the ultimate victory at the Cross. But the Cross of Jesus also reminds us of our own cross and the fact that the battle for Good and God this side of heaven will be costly.

Still each passing year is one year closer to His return. And that is no fairy tale.

So as we face the start of another year, hear again the horns calling us to battle. Acknowledge your companions. Gird your loins. Choose your weapons. And let’s press on, let’s press on till the night is finally over. Let’s press on till the full dawning of the Light.

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; our helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevaling. For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing, were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he; Lord Sabbaoth, his name, from age to age the same, and he must win the battle [Martin Luther]

Amen and amen.

Your brother, Soo-Inn Tan