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What Happened in Aslan’s Classroom?

C.S. Lewis’s book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe allows Christians to taste the grace of God and love of Jesus. We are all thrilled to see Aslan’s resurrection from the valley of the shadow of death where the Witch had led him. The next scene describes Aslan’s visit to the Witch’s courtyard, where he wakes up all the dead creatures. Lewis dramatically describes it this way:

For a second after Aslan had breathed upon him the stone lion looked just the same. Then a tiny streak of gold began to run along his white marble back, then it spread, then the color seemed to lick all over him as the flame licks all over a bit of paper, then, while his hindquarters were still obviously stone, the lion shook his mane and all the heavy, stone folds rippled into living hair. Then he opened a great red mouth, warm and living, and gave a prodigious yawn. And now his hind legs had come to life. Then, having caught sight of Aslan, he went bounding after him and frisking round him whimpering with delight and jumping up to lick his face. . . . Everywhere the statues were coming to life. The courtyard looked no longer like a museum; it looked more like a zoo. Creatures were running after Aslan and dancing round him till he was almost hidden in the crowd. (Lewis 168).

As a Christian teacher, I find this a very perceptive way to describe and explain Christian education. True education is to breathe living hope into the learners, just as Aslan did to the creatures. All of the statues in the Witch’s courtyard are revived again, so the courtyard no longer resembles a museum filled with the silence of death, but it is now like a zoo where all creatures sing, dance, run, and jump with joy and happiness.

This has led me to imagine two very different classrooms—one taught by Aslan, the other by the Witch. Even though both instructors teach the same content, the results are very different.

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