For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)
With the Easter celebration fast approaching, the chapel message has turned to the essence of what Easter is all about; namely the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Death is a difficult thing to talk about, especially when we have lost loved ones. It also touches a raw nerve when we consider the recent headline in Christchurch where many lives were lost through the senseless act of one man. Our prayers and thoughts continue to be directed to the families who have lost loved ones through this massacre and to the Christchurch community who continue to mourn for their families, their neighbours and for their peaceful community.
In complete contrast to this, the Easter message heralds one man giving his life as a ransom for many. The choice Jesus made was designed to save lives and has embedded into humanity the empowering directive to love others as we would love ourselves.
To help make better sense of Jesus death, the renowned 20th Century British author, C.S. Lewis, created the literary masterpiece The Chronicles of Narnia. The central character, ‘Aslan’, the lion who laid down his life as a ransom for one of the humans, provides an allegorical insight into the nature of why Jesus chose to lay down his life.
C.S. Lewis scripted Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with the goal to highlight the immense impact that comes from an ‘all-powerful being’ choosing to give up its life to free the world of Narnia from the grip of evil. Although the death of Aslan initially seems to make no sense, the values of courage, selflessness and love herald the turning point in the Narnia chronicles on many fronts; lives were saved, justice prevailed and the grip of evil was dissolved.
As we draw the parallel between Aslan and Jesus, the world of Narnia and our own worlds’, the essence of the Easter message hopefully serves to shine light into all of our lives in a way that brings the freedom and empowerment that it was designed for. I hope we all enjoy a safe, exciting and fulfilling Easter holiday in the next few weeks.
Rev Geordie Barham