“Who do you think Edmund is to remind us of, in the story of salvation? Satan?”. I was rather shocked by her suggestion. My daughter, Aletheia, who is reading C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe for school, was bent over a worksheet at the time, waiting to jot an answer down. This led to a discussion on how we are to see ourselves in Edmund. But as these words came tumbling out of my mouth, I felt the hypocrisy of my own words.
During the second week of social distancing, we settled into the couch with C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe in hand. The kids have always enjoyed declaring who they are at the beginning of any book or movie, and naturally, having two girls, and two boys, Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund, were quite easily divided between the four of them. After a couple days worth of reading, someone announced that I was “Mrs. Beaver”. At the time, I thought nothing about how I was, in fact, Edmund. All I could think about was how very much I did not want to be Mrs. Beaver. My reaction to Mrs. Beaver left me with a lingering sense of guilt. I had nothing against Mrs. Beaver. In fact, I really enjoyed her character, that is, until staring in my reflection in the mirror, I saw Mrs. Beaver. No thank you. I’ll take a character with a little more appeal.
This incident did not come full circle until my daughter’s school project, and her question about who Edmund was. Suddenly, I thought of my sad response to Mrs. Beaver with shame. I was struck with remembering who I truly was in Narnia. I was not Mrs. Beaver, but Edmund. During the discussion with my daughter, I declared the faithfulness of Aslan, in the face of the ugliness of who Edmund was, and all that Edmund had done.
Since then, I’ve thought about Edmund and wondered. Did Edmund ever wish he could rewind to that moment when his ears first heard the tinkling bells of the Witch’s sleigh? It seems that there is a general message these days to look back on the possible regrets of life, and not see them as regrets, but rather, as instruments that have made you into the person you are today. But there is no hope in such a self-made declaration. Edmund’s choices were not something that he could merely look back upon as some stepping stones to the Throne of Cair Paravel. Instead, we read of Edmund’s treachery, a treachery so deep that none can save him, least of all his best attempt to take his past choices and reframe them into a story of his own making. No. He is utterly helpless and hopeless, and his only hope is in who Aslan had been, is, and will forever be for him.
Our treacheries are not merely bad choices to be shaped and molded into some positive light. Our treachery is not life giving us lemons, and us making lemonade. Our life is not about us, but about Christ. We are not to forget who we were, and where we were, and whose we were. We, like Edmund, willingly walked with the Witch, willingly ate her food, in fact, desired it more than anything else, more than Aslan, more than family, more than anything else. To forget these things, would be to rob Aslan of His glory. Rehearsing the faithfulness of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, which we are lovingly commanded to do, always comes hand in hand with remembering our faithlessness, our treachery. We remember our faithlessness with a song of wonder and blessing and honor to the King Eternal, who, from of old has planned our rescue, while we were yet sinners, sending His Son, His Faithful Son to die for us, a death that could not hold Him, but from which He arose gloriously from the grave and ascended into heaven, standing at the right hand of His Father, that we might be His beloved children, whom He has plundered from darkness and plunged into His glorious light.