One of my favorite parts in the Bible is where Peter tells Jesus that the reason that they don’t want to leave him like the rest of the crowd is because Jesus has the words of eternal life. Words have always been a joy to me. My mother says that I could sit on her lap for hours as she read to me. I could read before kindergarten, and I am on par to read 100 books this year. I am captivated by words. Is that what Peter felt as he heard from Jesus?
C. S. Lewis:
“I think what profess to be realistic stories for children are far more likely to deceive them. I never expected the real world to be like any fairy tales. I think that I did expect school to be like the school stories.”
“It would be far truer to say that fairy land arouses a longing for he knows not what. It stirs and troubles him (to his life-long enrichment) with the dim sense of something beyond his reach and, far from dulling or emptying the actual world, gives it a new dimension of depth. He does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: the reading makes all real woods a little enchanted.”
Good story, I believe, points us towards those words of eternal life. We see beyond ourselves, we notice something more. Too much Juvenile and Young Adult fiction, and for that matter Adult fiction, doesn’t lead us to the beyond. It doesn’t point towards the “words of eternal life.” Stories that include some greater ideal of justice, love, joy in suffering, lead us towards the “true” story of God and His dealings with us. Again, I love how Lewis points to the fact that we are living the story and it’s only chapter one, and the story will go on and on for eternity. That’s what Peter is talking about. He knows Jesus is telling the real story. The words fit.
The Narnia stories connect us to this larger story, as CS Lewis rightly notes: All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
No one on earth has read it… Only God knows the whole story, we are humble players. We just hear bits and pieces; it makes us want to hear more, to stay with the storyteller like Peter.
Every chapter is better… eternity will be awesome.
Some books that young people are reading are filled with words that don’t seem to connect with those eternal life words.
I recommend these books because in them there is truth.
Peter was able to see that Jesus’ words had truth. They had significance for eternity.