We saw The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Friday night with about 300 of our closest friends from our church and Levy and River City and Sylvan Hills churches. It was extraordinary. When Aslan was dragged to the table, you could have heard a pin drop … or my 9-year-old daughter sobbing quietly at the end of our row.
She wasn’t alone … just a little louder than the rest of us.
Someone commenting on Mike Cope’s blog about the movie said that it “worked” for her in a way that The Passion of the Christ did not.
I agree, and I humbly offer one man’s opinion why.
In the Narnia chronicle, we got to know Aslan … who he was; what he was like; what he stood for; how deeply he loved. Even without the book’s famous line “Of course he isn’t safe … but he’s good” before we met him, we came to understand its truth. We had a context in which Aslan’s selfless sacrifice made sense: a deep magic to prove; a timeless law to be upheld; a clear delineation between what makes good good and evil evil.
Like the Lord of the Rings epic, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe told a complete story of conquering evil by conquering self.
And we had a sense for the everlasting good that followed as a result of Aslan’s life being returned to him.
By concentrating almost completely on the final hours of Jesus, The Passion of the Christ (with tiny flashbacks to the last meal with His friends and a table-building moment with His mother) denied us a real opportunity to get to know the main character. There was no real context. We may have felt sorry for Him that He was so abused; or we may have admired His superhuman endurance and self-control but we were largely left to guess why.
We had only glimpses of who He was; what He was like; what He stood for – and most important, how deeply He loved.
We saw only that He was despised and rejected of men.
The Passion of the Christ was a trilogy story with no prequel and no sequel.
Just one man’s opinion.