As a part of my nightly routine, I typically enjoy having a time of reading before going to sleep. In recent nights I have found myself engrossed with reading through the stories once more in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Currently I am plodding through the first book of the series, The Magician’s Nephew. This narrative follows the adventures of two childhood friends, Digory and Polly.
Early on in the story, the two children discover magic rings which were created by Digory’s uncle, that allow the wearers of the rings to transported in and out of worlds other than their own. When the children got the courage to take their first leap of faith into another world, they found themselves in a very deserted, sort of ancient setting. Almost immediately upon arriving, Polly expresses her desire to want to return home. Digory responds to her by saying, “But we haven’t seen anything yet…now we’re here, we simply must have a look around.” Polly replies, “I’m sure there’s nothing at all interesting here.” And with a profound statement which changes Polly’s mind, Digory says, “There’s not much point in finding a magic ring that lets you into other worlds if you’re afraid to look at them when you’ve got there.”
When I encountered this scene a few nights ago, I couldn’t help but think about the work of the Holy Spirit in all of our lives as God transported us into this “other world” of New Orleans for this season of life and ministry. The dialogue between these two characters can easily be transferred to one between a husband and wife, teacher and student, friend and mentor, etc. And in agreement with Digory, I thought, “What’s the point of letting the Spirit of God guide us into others worlds if we’re afraid to look at them when we get there?”
This is true for New Orleans and for any other adventure or place in America and beyond that our Lord may lead us into. Sure, this city can be a dangerous place, but it’s also a wonderful place. I hope at this time you find yourself being like Digory, ready to explore and discover this new world. But in the chance that you more resemble Polly as of late, being the one ready to get on the next bus headed back home, let me encourage you to spend some time getting to know this unique place into which you have been transported. Give God a decent chance at opening your heart to the sights, culture and people that you encounter each day, both out in the city and at the seminary as well.
There is no better time than the fall season (even more than Mardi Gras), to get to know and appreciate New Orleans. Right now you can find festivals, food, football (Who Dat?!), other sports and fun at every juncture. The city comes alive when it’s time to “Bless dem boys!” And so, just an encouragement and a reminder from C.S. Lewis, Digory, and me: “Now that you’re here, you simply must have a look around.”