Look through a window, through another window, maybe a final window, and see God. This is how my life has been. Sometimes I have been sure of something, thought it utterly vital, only to find that there was a deeper truth, something better, that replaced what seemed so important.
As a weird little kid, I remember thrilling to the legend of Arthur, King of the Britons. I pretended, pondered, and once played what I thought Arthurian music on my recorder. In Camelot, I found the tragedy of love gone awry, inoculated by this great myth from emoting that “love is love.” I saw a great king with a devotion to justice fighting against all odds, winning even if failing. And there were swords. This was deep or so my child’s heart thought. Slowly, I came to see that there were deeper things than Arthur and the Grail. He was a reflection of something greater, but of what? Some books said: high paganism. Some said: Christianity.
Great! I said and looked for Celtic spirituality that would show me more of what Arthur had shown me. I stumbled onto MacDonald, Machen, Lewis, and Tolkien and found better myths, deeper stories. Phantastes, Rosy Crosses, Aslan, Saint Anne, and Numenor were all more complicated stories than I could ever dream, tell, write, or even fully understand. They pulled me forward through one window into the next.
One day, most bored at first, I found Plato and his Republic. A wise old sage pushed me hard, harder, harder still. I got stuck, still am stuck, on one word in one sentence. What was meant? What was the True Light that had created all the shadows that I seen before? Plato would not rest with weak myth, but wanted a story so likely that it, almost, did not matter if it was true. What if this man, this Er, came back to life and said that there was justice, and spinning wheels in the Heavens, and a court that nobody could bribe?
This window looked to go all the way to the Sun!
Stripped of all Britishness, all falsity, all particularity, what was there that all the stories had in common? What did I see when I looked through all the windows?
Every window that showed me Jesus.
I am told, having missed this grotesque experience, that there is a sort of “minister” who turns every pop-cultural meme, moment, or movie into Jesus. If this ever works, this cannot work with Arthur, Phantastes, Rosicrucians, mythopoetic meaning, not even for so simple a story as that of Mr. Bultitude. They had to be loved first for their own selves and those selves were very interesting, rich, and joyous. They were not merely images, woodenly pointing to Christ.
Windows they might be.
Windows can reflect and we might be fascinated in looking hard to see what they are reflecting. How do I look? I have a friend with an office on the corridor of a high school and he is always amused to see students use the window as mirror. Windows are, obviously, not only mirrors. He can see through the reflections to posturing and preening.
Alsan is not Jesus, but Aslan. He is also a window to Jesus. Aslan is not a mirror of Jesus, but a beautiful thing through which we can look to see the Lord Jesus.
As I looked for deeper reality, through the stories, to the final story, I ended up back to the stories Mom and Dad told me as a boy. These first stories were about Christmas, Easter, and the Blessed Hope for the world. They were good stories, but if you begin in them, funny thing, you end up back in them. They are good enough for a boy and greater than any man. My early imaginings about what the Jesus story meant were not very good, but the windows showed me the truth.
I started with a great truth I could hardly understand, turned to what I thought were deeper things, only to end in the first things. Windows, through windows, then windows, to Jesus.
Just as I had begun.