I’ve been thinking about lions.
In the first keynote lecture at the Lambeth Conference, Archbishop Justin Welby began speaking of a lion, and the screen behind him began playing a video of a majestic, maned lion.
“Aslan!” I immediately thought. C.S. Lewis’s leonine stand-in for Jesus, for love and compassion and sacrifice from the Narnia books, was first in my mind.
But it was not that sort of lion. Archbishop Welby was speaking about 1 Peter 5:8 “Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.” So this lion—and all of the video of lions that followed—was an emblem of sin, evil, and the devil.
I admit in the moment, I was disappointed.
But as I’ve continued to reflect on it, I think that experience may have value. The lion can be both the symbol of sin and danger; and of faithful courage and new life. Symbols are often multivalent.
I invite you to continue to ponder with me. When you meet a lion, how do you discern if it is Aslan or the devil?