Son of Earth, Shall We Be Friends?
Being asked to write a piece for Lewis week was quite timely for me. After having put away my favorite of C.S. Lewis’ works (The Chronicles of Narnia) for far too long, I’ve recently been going through them again, in their proper chronological order. So, after finishing The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, I’m currently reading through Prince Caspian. For those not familiar with this book, one of the primary characters in this story is Trumpkin the Dwarf. Like most of the dwarves in Narnia, he is stubborn and quick-tempered, and yet still he is jolly and amicable. In the earlier parts of the story, we find that Trumpkin affirms the former works of Aslan in helping to save Narnia from the White Witch, but either intensely doubts or outright denies Aslan’s active work in Narnia in the present. He says:
“He’d be a pretty elderly lion by now, if he’s one you knew when you were here before! And if it could be the same one, what’s to prevent him from having gone wild and witless like so many others?”
Later on in the story, Trumpkin has the (mis)fortune of meeting Aslan face to face for the first time. He is understandably terrified of the great lion (because he is not a tame lion), but he timidly approaches him anyways. Then we see this:
“Aslan pounced. Have you ever seen a very young kitten being carried in the mother cat’s mouth? It was like that. The Dwarf, hunched up in a little, miserable ball, hung from Aslan’s mouth. The Lion gave him one shake and all his armour rattled like a tinker’s pack, and then -- hey-presto -- the Dwarf flew up in the air. He was as safe as if he had been bed, though he did not feel so. As he came down the huge velvety paws caught him as gently as a mother’s arms and set him (right way up, too) on the ground.”
After all this Aslan asks “Son of Earth, shall we be friends?” Now we have a very different Trumpkin. He is no longer stuck in his old ways of affirming Aslan’s existence and activeness in the past, but knows he is still active, and is still not a tame lion.
What struck me in particular after I read this little passage is that I am Trumpkin. Every week I affirm, along with the rest of the church that Jesus died, rose again, and redeemed the world from eternal ruin. However, as I go through the week, all too often I either forget or simply ignore what he continues to do in the world and in my life. He has already won, but he is still on the move, finishing his work both in the world more broadly, and (perhaps more slowly) in me. Recently he has shaken me, rattled me (and all my armour that I trusted in entirely too much), and thrown me in the air. Because he loves me and because he already won, I am as safe as if I were in bed, even though I don’t feel so.
Every time Jesus catches me, and sets me right way up on the ground. But here’s the real shocker: He has always offered “Son of earth, shall we be friends?” How foolish, how stubborn, how Dwarflike can I be to keep having to go through this? How gracious and patient must he be to continue to to toss and catch me whenever I need it? He’s not only sanctifying me, but he continually offers to be my friend. Trumpkin becomes a faithful and loyal follower and friend of Aslan after this experience. Unfortunately I’m not as quick to grasp this lesson as Trumpkin is, but I’m trying. Until I get this lesson, Jesus will still be shaking and tossing me as much as he needs to in order to help me get it, but he’ll keep me as safe as if I were in bed. He’ll catch me every time, and he will always offer “Son of earth, shall we be friends?”
[Editor's Note: This blog is a participant in #LewisWeek]