As we are more than half way through Advent it is time to have a bit of celebration and to rejoice! Gaudete Sunday is traditionally the third Sunday in Advent, so named because the first line of the Latin introit today is "Gaudete in Domino semper" ("Rejoice in the Lord always") from Phillipians 4:4,5.
This is a moment in the penitential season of advent to take a break and relax for a moment before preparing for Christmas. In the Catholic Church priests change their liturgical dress from purple to rose vestments.
It seems fitting that this also is my final word for the week for 2014. Many schools up and down the land will be breaking up this week and so now really is a time for rejoicing! And for many also a time for revising...
One film that a lot of people will settle down to watch this Christmas is the 2005 film: “The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. Set in a wintery world with its dramatic battle scenes, tender moments and with a dash of magic it is a fantastic family film and is perfect for Christmas.
But this book and film has far more going on than first meets the eye and is in fact an allegory Christian thinking about salvation how we sin, are redeemed through the death of Jesus and how his resurrection frees everyone. In fact Lewis disliked the term allegory and preferred it to be called a supposal. He said this is a letter to a Mr Higgins in 1962: “Suppose there were a Narnian world and it, like ours, needed redemption. What kind of incarnation and Passion might Christ be supposed to undergo there?”
Through the medium of a story he explores Christ’s crucifixion; Aslan sacrifices himself for the sake of Edmund, a traitor who may well deserve to die for his treachery, in the same way that Christians believe Jesus sacrificed himself for the sake of humanity. The imagery used is obviously open to interpretation but some for the following ideas might be considered:
Narnia is just one example of a book with a Christian message that has inspired many people to believe in God: Next term a number of students across the country will be taking part in an ISRSA essay competition that explores exactly these types of books.
It is entitled “Reading between the lines: Religion in Fiction”. How does your favourite book relate to your views on religion or your ideas about the world? For example: Which book would lead you to believe in God? Which book would make you doubt God’s existence? Which book would solve religious conflict? Which book solves the Big Questions?
The entries will be no more than 500 words and must be submitted by 16th March 2015.
So my challenge to you is to seek out and read a book over the holiday to complete this competition!
Ideas of books, other than the Narnia books include:
“The Kite runner” by Khaled Hosseini
These books have various age ratings, so please get permission to read one from your parents if you are under 18. Or have a chat with friends and family to see if there are any books that they would recommend for this essay.