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St Andrew’s • Cheam
UNITED REFORMED CHURCH

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Craig’s May letter

Craig Bowman
Cover of the Lion ...

Dear friends

I’m writing this just after we have finished the final week of the Lent study that has been taking place on Friday afternoons, using The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to reflect on our faith and ourselves in the world. Most of the other small groups in the church have been using the same material through Lent and I hope they have found the material helpful and felt connected as so many of us have explored the same themes together. During this time we have considered the different characteristics of the four children, the need to be self-aware and recognise how the gifts we are given are not intended for our selfish use but for the building of the kingdom, as well as considering the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

This may seem quite an agenda arising out of a ‘children’s book’. However, I would argue that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is not just a children’s book. In fact, as I said this afternoon, a story is never only a story! When we read a book or watch a film there is always something more going on besides the author or director just trying to distract us from the real world for a while. Books and films present us with characters and situations which invite us to consider how we would act in that situation and think about what is good and what is not. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe it is tempting to think how we would act like Lucy, Peter and Susan and never be like Edmund but in real life there is always the temptation to act in some way like Edmund, which is why self-awareness is so important – to be aware what may tempt us and where our weaknesses are.

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe it is sobering to realise that Aslan, the Christ-like figure in the book, offers himself in exchange for Edmund, the human who is initially seen as least likeable and least trust-worthy. Although this is not my favourite book (The Wind in the Willows holds that honour), it is a book to which I have regularly returned because it reminds me that, however weak or misguided we may be, we are not abandoned by our God.

We have just celebrated Easter and for some that will have been marked by Palm Sunday and then Easter Sunday – two celebratory occasions. However, it has also included Maundy Thursday and Good Friday when we have acknowledged betrayal, abandonment, desolation and death. One of the wonders of Easter is that the sacrifice of Jesus is not about gathering the good and the perfect but, like in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the sacrifice is made for those who we may think should not deserve it. For that I am eternally grateful because that means it is for me because, if we are looking for perfection, I would not be included.

Christ is risen. Alleluia!

Craig Bowman


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Posted on 1 May 2022

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