C. S. Lewis, best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, was also one of the most profound thinkers of twentieth century Christianity. Along with J. R. R. Tolkien, he has inspired millions of people, include all of the authors at Lantern Hollow Press. On Sundays we would like to take a moment to offer up a little Lewis for your consideration.
“Peace, Beaver,” said Aslan. All names will soon be restored to their proper owners. In the meantime we will not dispute about noises.”
–The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
Names are powerful things, even though we may not often think of them as so. Most cultures take them very seriously, and this is often reflected in literature. We need only think of Hermionie Granger’s admonition to Lucius Malfoy that “fear of a name only increases the fear of the thing itself,” to see it. While I don’t know that Lewis was thinking along these lines in particular, I find Aslan’s statement to be almost prophetic.
Christians believe that names matter. God has promised this Himself:
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden mana, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who recieves it.
A True Name, directly from God, that only He knows. That is a gift indeed.
Of course, in the short run, not all names are going to be with their proper owners. People who should be held in esteem and spoken of in terms of honor and grace are regarded with disdain and subjected to names so vile that I won’t repeat them here. Others who should be ashamed of what they’ve done are held up as the finest examples of humanity and showered with praise. There is something in us that cringes at both extremes. We get angry when we see this kind of injustice, though at times we may not even realize why.
The good news is that God sees through to the very heart of things, and He is the ultimate Namer of whom we are but a poor imitation. One day, as Aslan promised Beaver, all names will be restored to their proper owners. In the meantime, we “need not dispute about noises” and let what others think of us weigh too heavily on on our minds. We should take curses and praises both with the proverbial grain of salt.
Remember, the One who really matters sees us as we truly are. His name is waiting for us.
Click here for the entire run of “Meditations with C. S. Lewis” so far. Interested in more about C. S. Lewis? Check out Passing Through the Shadowlands–an extended project where I am blogging through his life in letters, essays, and books.