“They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps he has already landed.”
These words mark a turning point in CS Lewis’s classic novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Narnia is gripped by an unrelenting season of snow and ice. The winter seems like it will never end and evil flourishes while “good” creatures must hide, collaborate or risk being turned into statues. Into this vanquished land step the four Pevensie children—from the midst of one great war into the genesis of another. Little do they know they are a catalyst for it.
But the real change will ultimately come through Aslan—the Christ-like ruler of Narnia. In the midst of dark and difficult times, it seems that there is evidence of his coming, signs that things are beginning to change. A flower, the traditional herald of spring, poking through the snow. A bird song, snow melting, the season changing. These things provide evidence that winter’s power is waning and that the days will soon be lighter and brighter.
If you watch the news you’d be forgiven for thinking we live in thrall to an evil villain. In fact, it’s tempting for Christians to read into everything as a sign of the world’s wickedness. It seems it is always winter, never Christmas. We’ve become immune to the suffering around us because there is just so much. Our prayer echoes the revelator’s: “Come quickly Lord Jesus.”
It’s also easy to think it’s winter for the Church. Under attack from the new “-isms”, young people leaving, scandals and controversies, our churches are shrinking, getting older, getting too mega, getting too shallow or getting too fundamentalist.
While it’s right to acknowledge that there are challenges—and then do something to address them—sometimes we need to step back and see the signs of spring all around us.
The Holy Spirit is “on the move—perhaps He has already landed”.
As someone who works in Church communications, I’m blessed to be inspired by all the good news stories I get to read.
Across the world, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is seeing amazing things happen. Japan—long considered an impossible place for evangelism—has run an evangelistic campaign that has captured members’ imaginations and got them believing in outreach again. In Africa, hundreds of thousands have been converted through Total Member Involvement. [pullquote]
Closer to home, communities throughout the Pacific are currently holding reaping programs, led by Church members who have been trained for the purpose. They are calling it a “modern-day Pentecost”. This is different to the past—now there is an intentional emphasis on nurturing and finding a place for the new converts. (Read about an amazing story of healing and reconciliation on Pitcairn Island, one of the world’s most remote Adventist congregations.)
Local churches are changing the way they do things—coming up with innovative ministry ideas that are impacting their communities. Cell groups are building authentic communities. Bible reading groups are starting up all over the place. There is a real focus on youth retention and building and equipping leaders.
Personally, I’ve seen God work miracles and answer prayers in the lives of a few people close to me.
There’s no doubt that God is moving. It may have felt for a time like He was absent or distant. It may seem that the world is a dark and difficult place. But Christ has already won the victory and every day more humans declare for His upside-down kingdom.
We know what happens when Aslan arrives—the sacrifice he makes and the victory he wins—an echo of Christ’s sacrifice and victory.
Yet Christ has promised to come again and we know the ending of that story as well.
Winter’s strength is waning, the King is on the move, and you and I can be part of it—a thriving, disciple-making movement that can impact our communities, our countries and our world.