In The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis uses the thawing of a cold winter as a metaphor to indicate renewal, transformation, hope. The long and bitter frost presided over by the terrible Witch was now showing signs of melting. And in response, the wise and faithful Beaver explains, “They say Aslan is on the move. Perhaps he has already landed.” And with those words, our child heroes suddenly feel emboldened, adventurous, even courageous.
And in some strange way, I am feeling that as well.
After our long and prolonged season of sequestering and masking and social distancing, I am feeling a bit emboldened and adventurous, and perhaps even hopeful for the future. There seems a light at the end of the tunnel, a beam of sunrise after the long dark night, a rainbow after the flood. And there are evidences. During our Easter services last week (with one inside service and one outdoor courtyard service), we had hundreds of people attend who literally had not been at a service in over a year. It was great to see one another face-to-face, to actually incarnate (in the flesh) the community of the church with one another on the most appropriate of Sundays.
When we are faced with long periods of trial and hardship, there are several natural human responses. One is to surrender to the lethargy, to simply give in to the despair and pessimism, and retreat into the winter. To lay fallow for another day, week, month. I know from personal experience that this is way too easy to justify. Another is to lash out, to respond with antagonism, perhaps fueled by sanctimony or cynicism. Because it is easy, and perhaps even a little fun to point fingers, particularly in our increasingly divisive culture. Or we can instead choose to be hopeful. To decide that we will pick up our brushes and paint on our canvases, or pick up our guitars and strum them again, or put on our dance shoes and step back on to that familiar, smooth marley floor. We can decide that the drab grays of our world need more color, and that the drone of mere existence needs more cheery music.
Because, as artists of faith—that is our job.
It’s our job to sing when no one else is singing. It’s our job to tell a joke when no one else steps up to the mic. It’s our job—through the artistic expressions that have been given to us—to remind the world through our pens and instruments and paint brushes that truth and beauty and hope are real.
So in this season of thawing, I am choosing to sit at my piano and play happy, hopeful songs. I am choosing to pick up a pen and draw happy, hopeful doodles. I’m choosing to plan for a new album, and a new music tour, and a new product release. Hopefully, all these things are in step with, and in the wake of Aslan’s move.
How about you? If you are an artist of faith, what will be your next act of defiant hope?