• 66°

Robert Black: Looking for beauty

Rev. Robert Black


Ever since our first child was born, one of the things that I had been looking forward to was reading the Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis with her. I was excited about introducing her to the world of Narnia and feeding her imagination with these wonderful books. As a child, I read a few of the novels but not the entire series, so I was also looking forward to reading these books in course. Well, this past spring, it seemed like she was ready for the adventure and so we began with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the “correct” order in which to read the books is fiercely debated among Lewis scholars). The experience did not disappoint – we bonded over the course of about two months as we read a few chapters each night and in the drop-off line at elementary school.


Lewis was a literary genius, and so the books certainly entertained. And he was an adept theologian who used children’s stories to teach about faith through adventures in magical lands. What caught me off guard in reading the series was the sense of beauty with which Lewis wove throughout the Narnian adventures. In particular, in the narrative bookends of Narnia, there is an overwhelming sense of beauty – a beauty rooted in the intentionality and harmony of Creation with its Creator.


In The Magician’s Nephew, Lewis writes about the Creation of Narnia by the God figure in the series, the lion Aslan. Aslan creates through the beauty of a song: “The song was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it.” Lewis’ writing along with the joy of reading with my daughter moved me to tears as I read about the beauty that is the foundation of Creation.


At the other end of the series, in The Last Battle, Lewis concludes with beauty. As the world of Narnia is passing away, the characters find themselves in Aslan’s country (a metaphor for Heaven) and it is described in terms of beauty: “This is still Narnia, and, more real and more beautiful than the Narnia down below.” The culmination of Creation is that same beauty out of which everything sprang.


Lewis certainly wrote these novels to not only entertain, but to inspire faith and hope in his readers. As an analogy for the Christian faith, the Chronicles point to the deepest truths of faith and one of these truths is beauty. The way that Lewis uses beauty as a central theme at both ends of the series mirrors how Scripture begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation with beauty. And what is true at both the beginning and the end is true throughout.


When is the last time that you encountered beauty? When was the last time you were surprised by joy and moved to tears? When was the last time that you felt peace and were able to trust that all shall be well? While Lewis’ writing has much to teach us about faith, perhaps the lesson that we need the most right now is to pay attention to the gift of beauty which surrounds us. There is so much in the news and in our lives that are ugly and harsh, so having an eye towards beauty would do us some good. The notes of music, the strokes of a paintbrush, the words of a poet, the colors of a flower all are pointing us towards the beauty and purpose out of which we were created and they remind us of the destination of all things into that beauty. Know that you are beautifully and wonderfully made. Notice the beauty that surrounds us. And know that, in the end, beauty will embrace all.


The Rev. Robert Black, Rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury.


About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post



RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey


Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County


Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park


History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County


‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove


Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations


‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation


Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year


Ester Marsh: What body type are you?


The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone


Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million


US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency


Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs


FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight


Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law


Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago


State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March


NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly


Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain


Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full


Kiwanis Pancake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity


Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread