Yesterday we talked about Jesus’ ultimate form of hospitality: His invitation for our souls to come and rest. I couldn’t get away from this idea of Jesus’ invitation without thinking a bit about heaven. For His invitation to Himself is not only beautiful today; it’s also a glorious future hope.
In that vein, today, I wanted to share with you from one of my favorite passages in the Narnia series. I love it because it’s another invitation to come in. It’s from book 7, The Last Battle. Three of the Pevensie children are there along with many of the creatures we have grown to love. They find themselves on the cusp of a new Narnia. One they don’t completely understand and yet, somehow, recognize in various shades and shadows. As if they had seen wisps of it before. Only not really.
“‘[The old Narnia] was only a shadow or copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here: just as our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan’s real world. You need not mourn over Narnia. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream.’ His voice stirred everyone like a trumpet as he spoke these words…
“…It is as hard to explain how this sunlit land was different from the old Narnia as it would be to tell you how the fruits of that country taste. Perhaps you will get some idea is you think like this. You may have been in a room in which there was a window that looked out on a lovely bay of sea or a green valley that wound away among mountains. And in the wall of that room opposite to the window there may have been a looking glass. And as you turned away from the window you suddenly caught sight of that sea or that valley, all over again, in the looking-glass. And the sea in the mirror or the valley in the mirror were in one sense just the same as the real ones: yet at the same time they were somehow different – deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story: in a story you have never heard but very much want to know. The difference between the old Narnia and the new Narnia was like that. The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more. I can’t describe it any better than that: if you ever get there you will know what I mean.
“It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right forehoof on the ground and neighed and cried: ‘I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Breeee-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!”
Did you see the invitation? Feel the welcome? Come further up, come further in! A few pages later the talking Mouse, Reepicheep, repeats it: “Welcome, in the Lion’s name. Come further up and further in.”
Come indeed. Because of our great invitation and hope, we can be people of welcome. You who have been welcomed… be transformed into people who welcome. Invite them into your life. And then invite them into the story they have been looking for all their lives.
Come further up and further in,
This post is the tenth in a series of 31 days of posts where I’ll be exploring the topic of hospitality. If you missed the beginning, you’ll want to go here to get caught up. I’m linking up with other 31 Dayers here, if you’re intrigued and you’d like to see more or check out some other bloggers who are writing on a variety of topics. I’d love it if you came back to join me for all 31 Days so feel free to subscribe and get my little blog delivered right to your inbox. You can do so in the top right corner of this page.