“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the woods and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion — the Lion, the great Lion.”
Then, of course, Susan and Lucy ask if he is safe — to which Beaver answers with his memorable line, “Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Some of you know that today’s post is all about the symbols we use and sometimes abuse in daily living. I recently became horrified at the appalling displays of flag burning and rioting associated with the US Presidential Election. What upset me the most was a post I made the mistake of reading which was calling for the use of a safety pin to be worn to advocate yourself as a safe place and supposedly standing for unity.
Forgive me for finding such a thing as a cheap, easy to get, and nonsensical thing as a safety pin horribly atrocious. Given that those asking to wear them are tied to the same group of individuals who burn our flag.
Perhaps they need to be reminded of the symbol which they wish to destroy and its deeper meaning. Maybe it is just the knowledge that we can’t offer a safe place to even ourselves.
In the midst of my outrage at having true symbols of our history and preserving nature mocked and replaced by something as ludicrous as a safety pin I found myself recalling C. S. Lewis and his beloved Narnia. Aslan, a name which symbolized Christ.
In the above excerpt, you can see the children were afraid of Aslan for a good reason! He was a lion, not a tame lion either! He was also hope. While he wasn’t a safe place he was good!
Can you really have redemption without risk?
As frail humans who are given to being rebellious and prideful can we honestly say we are safe and good? I find it more truthful to say we are neither safe nor good! We are wicked and forgetful.
Can we say we stand with those who are oppressed and sympathize with them while standing by and destroying symbols that remind us of our hurtful barbaric past as well as show us as unified wishing to forge together a future? Can we both riot which is destruction and nurture which provides safety and growth?
We are not Aslan. We are not good. While Aslan was dangerous the truth was also that those he was a danger too brought the fear of him upon themselves. His very nature stood against their wickedness. He was good, but not safe. To know him was to risk facing your own frailties.
I can go over millions of symbols with you worthy of your noting, the tomahawk, the rebel flag, the American flag, the statue of liberty, all the war memorials too, but the most dangerous symbol is that of Aslan for it leaves us with the truth of the cross.
Who was the man called Jesus King of the Jews?
Jesus wouldn’t wear a safety pin for anyone. His idea of being a safe place and lover of humanity was a cross. Is he safe? No. Is he good? Yes.
Jesus will not tell you what you want to hear about your own nature. He won’t justify your desires to be rebellious and wicked. To know him you have to risk seeing your need for him. His goodness will lay bare your falseness.
The cross is not a safe place. It is a place of truth which refuses to allow us to continue living in delusion. It is where we see ourselves in an honest light for the first time. It is where we come to understand we are not safe nor are we good. We are those who crucified the innocent savior. We are in need of redemption.
So before you mock and destroy symbols while wearing a safety pin I invite you to give thought to what it means to be like Aslan. Think about the only symbol which represents true redemption. Remember the cross a place that isn’t safe, but it is good.