Encountering Hope 5th Sunday in Lent
By C. S. Lewis
(Scripture Readings II Corinthians 5: 14 – 21, Psalm 40: 1-5)
“Next moment the whole world seemed to turn upside down, and the children felt as if
they had left their insides behind them: for the Lion had gathered himself together for
a greater leap than any he had yet made and jumped – or you may call it flying rather
than jumping – right over the castle wall. The two girls, breathless but unhurt, found
themselves tumbling off his back in the middle of a wide stone courtyard full of
‘What an extraordinary place!’ cried Lucy. ‘All those stone animals – and people too!
It’s – like museum.’
‘Hush.’ Said Susan, ‘Aslan’s doing something.’
He was indeed. He had bounded up to the stone lion and breathed on him. Then
without waiting a moment he whisked round – almost as if he had been a cat chasing
its tail – and breathed also on the stone dwarf, which…was standing a few feet from
the lion with his back to it. Then he pounced on a tall stone Dryad which stood
beyond the dwarf, turned rapidly aside to deal with a stone rabbit on his right, and
rushed on to two centaurs. But at that moment Lucy said,
‘Oh, Susan! Look! Look at the lion.’
I expect you have seen someone put a lighted match to a bit of newspaper which is
propped up in a grate against an unlit fire. And for a second nothing seems to have
happened; and then you notice a tiny streak of flame creeping along the edge of the
newspaper. It was like that now. For a second after Aslan had breathed upon him the
stone lion looked just the same. Then a tiny streak of gold began to run along his
white marble back – then it spread – then the colour seemed to lick all over him as the
flame licks all over a bit of paper – then, while his hind-quarters were still obviously
stone the lion shook his mane and all the heavy, stony folds rippled into living hair.
Then he opened a great red mouth, warm and living, and gave a prodigious yawn. And
now his hind legs had come to life. He lifted one of them and scratched himself. Then,
having caught sight of Aslan, he went bounding after him and frisking round him
whimpering with delight and jumping up to lick his face.
Of course, the children’s eyes turned to follow the lion; but the sight they saw was so
wonderful that they soon forgot about him. Everywhere the statues were coming to
life. The courtyard looked no longer like a museum; it looked more like a zoo.
Creatures were running after Aslan and dancing around him till he was almost hidden
in the crowd. Instead of all that deadly white the courtyard was now a blaze of
colours; glossy chestnut sides of centaurs, indigo horns of unicorns, dazzling plumage
of birds, reddy-
brown of foxes, dogs and satyrs, yellow stockings and crimson hoods of dwarfs; and
the birch – girls in silver, and the beech-girls in fresh, transparent green, and the latch-
girls in green so bright that it was almost yellow. And instead of the deadly silence the
whole place rang with the sound of happy roaring’s, braying’s, yelping’s, barking’s,
squealing’s, cooing’s, neighing’s, stampings, shouts, hurrahs, songs and laughter.
‘Ooh!; said Susan in a different tone. ‘Look! I wonder – I mean, is it safe?’
Lucy looked and saw that Aslan had just breathed on the feet of the stone giant.
‘It’s all right!’ shouted Aslan joyously. ‘Once the feet are put right, all the rest of him