Following Jesus

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Following Jesus

On Sinking with My Nose to the Sunrise

June 13, 2017 by

Reepicheep of Narnia

There are times when every adult has to return to fairy tales. At least I find that to be true. For a dose of courage, or just plain enjoyment, a fairy tale is hard to beat.

I particularly love C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series, with its Gospel-inspired themes of the battle between good and evil. The other day I picked up The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and found motivation in the words of a mouse.

No ordinary rodent, Reepicheep is a chivalrous warrior in the cause of Aslan, the Great Lion. All his life, the desire of his courageous heart has been to reach Aslan’s country. It is this longing that inspires him to join the good ship Dawn Treader’s journey of exploration, which will take him to the edge of the known world, and within reach of the sacred country of Aslan, which no one can truly know without crossing into it.

“My own plans are made,” Reepicheep tells his shipmates. “While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.”

The life of a disciple of Jesus is often like this. We have a goal, a vision, and we go after it. Jesus says we are to seek first the kingdom, to follow him no matter what, and give everything for his sake. This – in spite of sickness or other obstacles that get in our way. So we sail on towards the goal, towards the kingdom.


Listen to Randall discuss the Benedict Option with Rod Dreher.


In life, as in fairy tales, it may well be that we begin our voyage on a sturdy, well-crewed ship; then continue on solo, in a small craft; then find ourselves in the water. But finally, when we can swim no more – yes, when we have expended all our strength – we will at least sink with our nose pointed the right way. Our faith assures us, too, that when that moment comes, we have nothing to fear, because Jesus will reach out a hand and grab us, just as he rescued Peter when, walking on the water, his courage failed him.

I set Lewis’s book down feeling energized by the determination and vision of the small but valiant mouse who kept his eyes on the prize and reached his goal. I felt renewed courage to meet the day’s challenge – and to wish you the same.

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About the author

Randall Gauger with his wife, Linda

Randall Gauger

Randall Gauger is a bishop of the Bruderhof communities in the United States. He and his wife, Linda, live at the Maple...

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