A Narnia Theme Night
group magazine: November-December, 2005
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Take your group to see the fantastic new film based on C.S. Lewis’ fantasy masterpiece; then plunge them deeper into the story’s great truths with these theme-night activities.
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe has been one of the world’s most-beloved novels for more than 50 years—strange that it’s taken so long for a faithful rendition of C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece to make it to the big screen.
This amazing film (releasing December 9) brings to life the story and characters we’ve enjoyed for generations.
And it introduces Aslan, the mighty lion and allegorical stand-in for Jesus Christ, to the entire world.
The following plan for a movie theme night offers ideas for creating an event after a group viewing of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
Buy tickets, sit together as a group, and enjoy the film.
The Ride Back to Church
Informally ask these questions on the ride back to your meeting room—to prime the pump for deeper discussion:
• What was your favorite part of the movie?
• Which of the kids did you relate to most, and why?
• What connections to Christianity did you see?
Setting the Atmosphere in Your Room
After experiencing the film’s amazing effects, you’ll want to do something—minimum to maximum—to transform the environment in your youth room.
• Create a “wardrobe” entrance to your meeting room. Minimally, you could cover the door in brown butcher paper and decorate it to look like a wardrobe door. If you have the time and resources, remove the doorknob and attach a simple knob or latch to make it look more like a wardrobe door. If you have even more time and resources, find an old wardrobe and take the back off; then take your regular door off and replace it with the wardrobe.
• Immediately inside the door, place a clothes rack filled with coats so people must push through them to enter the room.
• If you have the time and resources, you could construct a street lamp using some kind of pole and a floodlight, and then place it just past the coat rack so it’s the first thing your young people see. If possible, dim the lights a little to set off the street lamp.
• Create a “snowscape” using white butcher paper cut out in silhouettes of trees, mountains, and so on. Tape the silhouettes to your youth room walls.
• Cut “stone statues” of the animals or mythical creatures from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe out of gray or black butcher paper and tape them along your walls.(1)
• Cut snowflakes from white paper and hang them from the ceiling with string or fishing line.
• Form “snow drifts” in the corners, on the floor, and against furniture by draping or wadding up white bed sheets.
• Finally, create the illusion of a stone table by covering a normal table with heavy gray fabric, painting large sheets of cardboard to look like stone, or using sheets of fake-rock siding used as facades in home construction. Make the stone table the centerpiece of the room—place it where you typically speak or in the center of the room.
Use all three activities that follow—or pick and choose—to help kids explore the deeper themes in the film. If you do all the activities, use them in the order presented. Each activity will take 30 to 45 minutes.
1. Tempted by “Turkish Delight”
Supplies Needed: *Flash paper, fine-tip markers, a candle, and matches. *(Warning: This item is highly flammable and should be used with caution and only under adult supervision.
It’s available through the Internet and magic stores.)
Scripture Passage: James 1:13-15
Before young people arrive, light a candle and set it on the stone table. As kids enter, hand each one a piece of flash paper. Form groups of three or four and ask them to discuss the following questions (as they discuss, pass out fine-tip markers to each group): Could you relate to Edmund’s struggle with Turkish Delight? Why or why not? How do you typically fight temptations in your life? Do you typically succeed? Why or why not?
Ask kids to read aloud James 1:13-15.
Then ask kids to discuss: How would you put this definition of temptation into your own words? In light of these verses, what’s the best defense against temptation? Why don’t we run from our temptations at the first sign of them?
Say: On your slip of paper secretly write the “Turkish Delight” temptation you struggle with most in life.
When kids finish writing, ask a few small groups to offer their answers to the discussion questions. Then ask your students to spend a few minutes praying silently, seeking God’s strength and wisdom in fighting their temptations. Encourage them to come to the stone table when they finish praying and light their piece of paper in the candle’s flame (it will immediately burst into flame and disappear). After everyone has burned their temptations in the fire, say: Jesus Christ, the true Aslan, died so that we might be free from sin and death. When temptation strikes, ask Jesus for the help and strength you need to turn away from it.
2. Using Your Gifts
Supplies Needed: Aluminum foil
Scripture Passage: 1 Corinthians 12
Hand kids each a piece of aluminum foil; then form groups of three or four to discuss the following question: Peter, Susan, and Lucy received gifts from Father Christmas—which gift would you want, and why?
Ask kids to read aloud 1 Corinthians 12.
Then ask them to discuss: How is this passage like or unlike the children receiving their gifts? Was each gift the children received equally important? Why or why not? Is every gift that God gives us equally important? Why or why not? Why did Edmund miss out on receiving a gift? How might this apply to your own life? How does the church suffer when people don’t use their gifts and talents? What gifts and talents do you believe God has given you? How are you using them? What would help you to exercise your gifts more than you do now?
Ask kids to each mold a symbol or word to represent the talent they’d like to dedicate to God. Ask them to silently pray for insight and perseverance in using their gift for God’s glory, and then leave their sculpture on the stone table as a formal commitment.
3. Jesus’ Sacrifice on the “Stone Table”
Supplies Needed: Jesus action figure, loaves of bread (not sliced), grape juice, a bowl, and a sheet
Scripture Passage: 1 Peter 1:17-21
Aslan is clearly an allegory for Christ, and his willingness to die on the stone table for Edmund illustrates what he did for each of us on the cross. Use this powerful scene in the film to direct kids’ thoughts toward Jesus and what he did on Calvary.
Before the activity, create a life-size “body” on your stone table using unsliced loaves of bread. Form a head, torso, and legs using the loaves. Then cover your “figure” with a sheet. Place a large bowl and pitcher of grape juice out of sight nearby.
Form groups of three or four. Ask kids to answer the following questions; then get feedback from the groups after their discussion time: How was Aslan an accurate symbol for Jesus? How did Aslan make you think about Jesus in a surprising way? Explain. What are some popular beliefs about Jesus that don’t line up with the character of Aslan? Which view is correct?
Have kids read aloud 1 Peter 1:17-21.
Then have them discuss: Why won’t God accept anything but “the precious blood of the lamb” for our redemption? What did you think of Edmund’s reaction to Aslan’s sacrifice? What’s God’s response when people don’t acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice? What’s your personal response to the Scripture passage?
After 15 minutes or so, get kids’ attention by holding up the Jesus action figure and saying: Many people view Jesus like this action figure. He’s a nice guy you can pull out when you need him, maybe even move his arms and legs in the direction you want. He’s just a fun little buddy you can take or leave. This is not true! Jesus is the lion of Judah, fierce and mighty, ready for war! He died on the “stone table” for you and me so that we could be with God for eternity. His sacrifice broke the spell of the “White Witch” and freed us to live in relationship with him for eternity.
Slowly remove the sheet from the stone table figure. Say: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, allowed himself to be beaten and murdered, suffering excruciating pain and humiliation, so we might have faith, hope, and eternal life.
Pick up a loaf and tear it apart. Place the bowl on the table and pour grape juice into it.
Then continue: His blood was poured out for all of us—to wash away and cover the sin that separates us from God. Just as Aslan redeemed Edmund on the stone table, the body and blood of our spotless Savior, Jesus Christ, redeems us on the cross. We show proper respect and honor to Jesus when we break the bread and dip it into the juice in remembrance of him. Take time right now to meditate on what Jesus has done for you and how you can honor his sacrifice every day. Give kids time to come to the stone table and pray if they wish.
Bryan Belknap is media editor for group Magazine and creator of our Web site for pop culture discussion-starters—www.MinistryandMedia.com. He’s also author of Group’s Blockbuster Movie Illustrations and Group’s Blockbuster Movie Events (Group Publishing).
1. If you need “models” for the cutouts, go to www.narnia.com, go through the wardrobe door, place your mouse pointer on the lion medallion, then click on Discover Narnia.