Aslan and Pentecost
The festival of Pentecost
by Alexandra Palmer
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To use the story The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to consider the festival of Pentecost.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Aslan and Pentecost) and the means to display them.
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Aslan’s healing breath’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 1.36 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYNnP-RryQc
- Note: you will need to be aware of the following information. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, four children called Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie discover the magical land of Narnia. While they are there, Edmund does something wrong, but he doesn’t take the punishment. Instead, Aslan – a lion who is the rightful king of Narnia – takes the punishment for Edmund. Even though Aslan hasn’t done anything wrong, the White Witch, who rules Narnia, kills him.
The film clip in the ‘Assembly’, Step 11, is just after Aslan has come back to life. Peter and Edmund are fighting the White Witch and her army on a battlefield while Susan and Lucy accompany Aslan to the White Witch’s castle. Here, Aslan revives the Narnians who have been turned into stone statues by the White Witch.
- Show Slide 1.
Ask the children whether they have read the book or watched the film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
- Ask if anyone knows who wrote the book.
Show Slide 2.
The answer is C. S. Lewis.
- Explain that C. S. Lewis was a Christian who wanted to use the Bible in his writing. He used some of the people in the Bible as inspiration for characters in his books. Lewis also borrowed some Bible settings, such as Israel and Egypt, and transformed them into Narnia. He used a special man from the Bible to become Aslan, the lion who is the rightful king of Narnia.
- Ask the children if anyone knows which special man from the Bible Aslan represents.
The answer is that Aslan represents Jesus.
- Briefly explain the plot of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by using the following slides.
Show Slide 3.
In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Pevensie children - Lucy, Susan, Peter and Edmund - go to live with their uncle, who lives in a large house. One day, the children are playing hide-and-seek when Lucy decides to hide in a wardrobe. She discovers a magic door at the back of the wardrobe, through which she enters the land of Narnia. In Narnia, it is always winter, but never Christmas, due to the evil queen, the White Witch, who is its ruler.
- Show Slide 4.
The first Narnian whom Lucy meets is Tumnus, who is a faun. They become best friends.
- Show Slide 5.
At first, the other three children don’t believe what Lucy tells them about Narnia; they think that she’s making it all up. However, Edmund ends up going through the wardrobe’s magic door, too, and he meets the evil White Witch.
- Show Slide 6.
Soon, all of the children end up in Narnia where they meet Aslan, the lion.
- Show Slide 7.
While the children are in Narnia, Edmund does something wrong, but he doesn’t take the punishment for it. Instead, Aslan takes the punishment for Edmund. Even though Aslan hasn’t done anything wrong, the White Witch kills him. However, Aslan comes back to life again, which is why he represents Jesus in this story.
- Show Slide 8.
Peter and Edmund are fighting the White Witch and her army on a battlefield while Susan and Lucy accompany Aslan to the White Witch’s castle. When Lucy and Susan enter the castle, they are shocked to find that many Narnians, including Tumnus, have been turned to stone by the White Witch.
- Show the YouTube video ‘Aslan’s healing breath’ (1.36 minutes long).
- Express how amazing it is when the Narnians come back to life. They then help to defeat the White Witch on the battlefield.
Ask the children if they can think of how this story might link to the Christian festival of Pentecost.
- Show Slide 9.
Explain that Christians believe that everyone does things wrong. Some people call this sin. Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross because God wanted to renew his relationship with all people and forgive us for the things that we do wrong. They believe that Jesus took our punishment.
- Show Slide 10.
After Jesus died, his body was taken off the cross and placed in an empty tomb. This is what we remember on Good Friday. Three days later, Jesus came back to life again, and this is what we celebrate on Easter Sunday.
- Show Slide 11.
After Jesus has come back to life, he appears to the disciples several times over the next 40 days. At Tabgha, on the shore of Lake Galilee, Jesus cooks breakfast for the disciples after they have been fishing all night.
After they have eaten, Jesus asks Peter three times whether he loves him, and Peter assures him that he does. This contrasts with the time before Jesus’ death, when Peter denied three times that he knew Jesus. Jesus then recalls Peter to start teaching and spreading the good news about God.
- Show Slide 12.
This slide shows the Mount of Olives, which is in Jerusalem. It is where Jesus returned to Heaven. The Bible says that a cloud came down and hid him from sight.
Time for reflection
Show Slide 13.
Jesus knew that his disciples had the right skills and abilities to start spreading the good news about his time on earth, but he also knew that they would need help to do this.
At Pentecost, we remember when God sent the Holy Spirit to live inside his followers. It was at Pentecost that Peter stood up in front of a massive crowd of people to teach them about Jesus. Up to this point, Peter had been terrified, but when the Holy Spirit came, Peter was brave and fearless.
After Peter had spoken to the crowd, about 3,000 of them became Christians. Peter spent the next 33 years telling people about Jesus and he was key in establishing the Christian church.
So, how is this connected to Aslan breathing on the stone statues in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Aslan represents Jesus, so Aslan’s breath is like the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Narnians could defeat the White Witch, but they needed Aslan to kick-start them and bring them back to life again. The Holy Spirit kick-started the Christian Church at Pentecost.
Thank you for the Narnia series of books, which help us to understand the life of Jesus.
Thank you for our imaginations, which we use when reading and playing.
Thank you for the celebration of Pentecost.
Lord, when we need help and support like the Narnians and the disciples, please help us through every situation.
‘Our God is a great big God’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaXPXWBcE3I (3.00 minutes long)