I have now seen Voyage of the Dawn Treader 1.5 times. The first time with a friend, the .5 with my parents (I had a headache and major allergy issues so I had to go home right in mid-storm). I cried, twice. Almost three times; the first and semi-third time, when the camera zooms out from the ship in the very beginning and the Narnia theme goes soaring out…and the second time later that night thinking about it in bed. That shot was dramatic.
As I watching the Dawn Treader surging through the waves with the dawn behind it and the glorious music being glorious, I wondered, “Why can’t earth be like that? Why are there no magnificent moments in dragon-shaped ships soaring over the ocean with the sun in her wings and a theme song racing through her sails? No noble kings with swords and armor? No valiant armies with majestic causes, with fleets of ships sailing out of the dawn to war? There is no glory like that here.” I’ve spent my whole life (all 16 years of it…heh) trying to get to Narnia, longing for bittersweet moments of glory and victory. I have always wished that humans in our world had the same noble spirits and itching for adventure that heroes in stories do, and yet everywhere around me I see the petty selfishness in the world, instead of the glorious selfless courage that dominates stories. It bugs me.
And then I thought, “Heaven will be like Narnia, with a pinch of Wonderland and perhaps some Middle Earth thrown in. There will be ships in sunrises and there will be a grand soundtrack. And all of life will be centered around our King, and his glory will fill the earth and it will be just like Narnia in its Golden Age.”
And then I thought, “The new earth.” You see, I had forgotten that Heaven is only the place where Christians go when they die–the Bible never says anything, that I can think of right this second, about staying there until the end of time. We die, we go to Heaven until all the other people down here have finished Earth’s remodeling, and then we come back, to a new Earth. And this new Earth will be filled with His glory.
That means, thought I to myself, that this Earth that we used to make mud pies in will be transformed into my Narnian heaven. Every glorious moment in history–both ours and other worlds’ histories– will be combined and woven together to create one magnificent Time, a time that won’t end. We will never have to leave, and will never be kicked back into our own world.
As all the post-millennialists know, the goal of Christians is to make the world better and better and more like Christ’s bride until the End of Time, when it will be perfect, and Christ and Earth will live happily ever after. Hence, our duty is to transform our world into perfection. And that perfection includes all the dramatic moments from all the best stories. We should be revamping the world’s values from me, me, me, to Christ, Christ, Christ. One thing I noticed is that in this movie, the battle cry was, “For Narnia!” instead of “For Aslan!” We need to change that. We have been given a divine charge to make this world more Godlike, and part of this is spinning it into a fairy tale. Pastors always use the illustration that the story of the World is a story that God wrote, a real novel. And it is. But we’ve gotten into the 1984 section, where there are only little noble moments. And definitely no theme song. So, we have to spin it around.
There is a definite tendency to love bravery and courage and kingliness and gold crowns while in the movie theater, and shed it like an old glove as soon as you step back into the ‘real world’. Peer pressure makes us stuff the desire to have adventures of our own down into the deepest corners of our being, and we obligingly do so. We pretend to go along with what our world sees as beautiful, the dreadful metal ‘artwork’ lining the parks and malls, trying to convince ourselves that dragon-ships with red sails coming out of the sunrise across seas covered in lillies is just pathetic and boring and simple-minded.
Cut that out.
Don’t keep reminding everyone that we need to be like Narnians, though. They will start calling you a Narnia freak, and that won’t help at all. Keep the values of Narnia, but keep the application down to Earth. Always look at the world through nobility lenses, and look for the little magical details. They will stun you. People always wonder how I think certain things can be so incredible–say, snowflakes–and why I seem to find the magical things instead of them. I think they just aren’t looking. They see, as Sherlock Holmes says, but they do not observe. If you look for things that fill you with noble thoughts, if you pay attention to the right sorts of places and people, you will find elements of the best stories. And then you can point them out to your friends–expect some really weird looks–and soon they will begin to spot them too.
Perhaps we will never get to see Americans sail into sunsets for noble causes. We might not get to hear our Theme.
But our great-grandkids might. If we throw ourselves full force into fighting for Christ, spreading the eye for majestic moments and the desire for more of them throughout the world, our descendants will reap the benefits. That I can promise you. Granted, it might not be as soon as three generations, but somewhere down the line our efforts will pay off. And the harder we work now, the sooner Christ’s kingdom on this perfect Earth will come.