By Jon Jordan

 Rainbow meat tastes like strawberries. —Zoë Jordan, age 3

If you spent time with my daughter, you would probably find her imagination amusing, adorable, or annoying, but sooner or later your thoughts might betray the early signs of a disease known as adulthood. You may not want it to happen quickly, and you may even be lamenting that you caught this disease years ago, but you and I are adults, which means that we think Zoë will eventually grow up and grow out of this enchanted vision of reality.

I have a seminary degree, and am very committed to the world of education. I believe that thinking rightly and deeply about things that truly matter is one of the best ways you can spend your time. Many of our childish notions of history, literature, theology, and science need to be challenged, and we need to grow out of so many misconceptions that we hold in these areas.

But I want to admit something to you: even when she sees things that I don’t — perhaps especially when she sees things that I don’t — I think Zoë is far closer to a right vision of reality than the average adult, myself included. My three-year-old daughter reminds me daily of a reality that we adults tend to forget: Our world is enchanted.

C.S. Lewis did not create Narnia — an enchanted world full of enchanted creatures — out of nostalgia. He did not want to revisit that time in his childhood when he used to believe that our world was enchanted. He created Narnia as an enchanted world because he, as a Christian, recognized something significant: Our world is just as enchanted as Narnia.

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, a boy named Eustace finds himself — much to his surprise — speaking with a star named Ramandu. Puzzled, Eustace begins to inform Ramandu that “in our world” stars are simply balls of gas and light suspended in outer space. Ramandu’s reply is haunting:

Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of.

Which brings us to Holy Week.

One week stands between Palm Sunday and Easter. That week is made up of minutes, and hours, and days. It will be full of appointments, playdates, meetings, and meals. But that is not what this week is. Between Palm Sunday and Easter stands the holiest, the most enchanted, of weeks.

In his best sermon, published as The Weight of Glory, Lewis said that “spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found.”[1] More than 70 years after those words were first preached, we are still in need of “the strongest spell that can be found,” for we have several enchantments in need of breaking.

This Holy Week, God’s people have the opportunity — through the words found in the Gospels and enacted in the liturgy — to allow Scripture to cast its spell in each of our lives.

On Palm Sunday, the enchantment I am the master of my own fate is broken as we join the people of Palestine in declaring Hosanna! to King Jesus. The enchantment I have everything together is broken as we join our voices with Peter in denying Christ time and time again. We are there with the disciples in the upper room, having our feet washed by the servant-king, breaking the enchantment I am here to be served cast by so many companies seeking our money and loyalty in exchange for their goods and services. And on Good Friday, the dual enchantment I’m not really that bad and I’m not really that valuable is broken as we yell Crucify him! before beholding and adoring Jesus on the cross, who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven. As Holy Saturday gives way to Easter, the spell of all spells is cast afresh on our lives as hopelessness and futility gives way to He is risen!

Holy Week is for self-examination and repentance; for prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and for reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.[2] But perhaps above all — or rather through all these practices — Holy Week is for enchantment. It reveals to us that what happened on Good Friday means that Fridays are no longer merely Fridays, and because of the New Creation brought about by the Resurrection of Jesus, Sundays are no longer merely Sundays. And the spell cast on each of us during Holy Week is one that extends to all weeks of the year for the rest of all eternity.

“You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found.” May this Holy Week be for us more than what it is made of.

Jon Jordan is dean of students at Coram Deo Academy in Dallas, Texas. He is the author of From Law to Logos: Reading St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (Wipf & Stock, 2017)

Footnotes

[1] Preached at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford (June 8, 1941).

[2] 1979 BCP, p. 265.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
wpDiscuz