by the Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
First Central Congregational UCC
16 April 2017
In sixth grade I discovered The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, and suddenly a new and wider world of the imagination was opened to me. These weren't just great stories, they were also richly theological stories, helping to shape my ethics and my concepts of God and salvation.
I vividly remember the first time I read the final novel, The Last Battle. I read the chapter "Further Up and Further In" just before recess one day. In that chapter the characters, filled with joy and overwhelmed by beauty and wonder, run through the newly created world that has replaced the now destroyed Narnia. That was the best recess of my life, as I too spent the hour running with the same zest as the story I'd just read.
One passage from The Last Battle, which has remained with me over the last thirty years, is the closing paragraph.
[The] things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them down. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.