Archive for May 16th, 2011

We recently watched the third Chronicles of Narnia movie, “Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” after reading the book together as a family.  I thought the movie was good, although very different from the book.  (Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, and plan to soon, you may want to postpone reading this!)  One aspect of the movie that was disappointing, however, was the departure from the storyline about Eustace as a dragon.  Both the book and the movie portray Eustace as a self-centered, annoying little boy who is turned into a dragon, then delivered from this bondage by Aslan.  But the movie shows Eustace slowly changing while he is still a dragon, largely due to encouragement from his new friend, Reepicheep, the mouse.  The book, however, gives all the credit for Eustace’s change in demeanor to the work of Aslan.

I love how C.S. Lewis uses allegory in the Chronicles of Narnia series to reveal spiritual truths.  In the book, Eustace tries to scrape off the dragon scales and get rid of his dragon exterior.  While he’s successful to an extent, there’s always another layer underneath that which he’s just removed.  He so desperately wants to be free, but he can only do so much.  Then Aslan begins to scrape off his scales.  It hurts at first, but in a good way (which C.S. Lewis likens to tearing off a scab to reveal new skin underneath).  Finally, Eustace is freed from his bondage, washed in healing water, and clothed with new clothes.  His old, self-centered nature is replaced by a humble, new nature.  Sound familiar?  It’s what Christ does for all who believe in him.

We can try our hardest to be good.  We can even succeed in getting rid of bad habits and attitudes – but only to an extent.  There will always be hard, ugly scales weighing us down.  Those scales might be bitterness from past hurts, anxiety over an uncertain future, self-centered attitudes that destroy relationships.  There are some scales we cannot remove on our own, no matter how hard we try.  The only way to be free is to surrender to the One who paid the price for our sin and has the power to free us from bondage.  It can be painful to expose our deep wounds and scars, but only he can scrape off the dead scales and heal us completely.   Baptism is the outward symbol of being washed clean inside and made new.  Christ frees us so that we may be clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Col. 3:12).

We are all dragons in need of a savior.  That may not be the best storyline for Hollywood, but it’s a message of truth that we all need to hear.

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