For Lent, I’m re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia in the following order:
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Prince Caspian
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- The Silver Chair
- The Horse and His Boy
- The Magician’s Nephew
- The Last Battle
I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you’ve read all of the Chronicles of Narnia. So if you want to avoid spoilers, stop reading now. Seriously. Major spoiler for book 7 ahead.
Still with me?
OK, so we all know that Susan doesn’t come back for The Last Battle. Growing up in the a Baptist church that taught you could lose your salvation (and then going to a non-denom that taught the same), I always wondered if I was like Susan. If I was enjoying the benefits of faith without actually having faith. I worried that because I was not able to follow the law perfectly that I would never earn the faith.
Thankfully in college, I studied reformed theology and learned to rest in the confidence that Christ Jesus has completed His work and will sustain those whom He will. He is the securer of faith, not me. Faith is free gift purchased at His great expense and given to me. His sacrifice atoned for my sins, and as a result I am not bound by the law but set free to follow it, imperfectly, in thanksgiving to the one who did keep it perfectly.
When I read the passage where the Pevensie children first hear the name of Aslan, I noticed their reactions:
“Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.” – Chapter 7. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Edmund, Peter and Lucy experience deep, internal reactions. But not Susan. Her reaction is superficial and fleeting. Indeed, the name of Aslan floats by her. I cannot but read this as a foreshadowing of her non-return in the Last Battle. A hint by the author that though Susan will enjoy all the advantages of Narnia, indeed she will rule over it with her siblings, she is not a Narnian. She will be appointed by Aslan as God appointed Saul, but she, also like Saul, will not be a partaker of the eternal kingdom.