I am Edmund.
I am a cold-blooded traitor, a brother-despiser, a sister-scorner, a world-corrupter. I have ruined days and friendships. I have murdered legions with my bitter heart and defiled endless scores in the hidden places of my imagination. I have grown bitterness and envy like a cash crop; no field long remains fallow—I have handfuls of thistles to sow, in season and out.
I have nursed petty grievances, manufactured gangrene from mosquito bites. My pride is ravenous; always feeding, never full. I have forged golden monuments to my own glory and commanded worlds to bow and scrape. I have raged at their refusal.
And my tongue—oh, my tongue! My lust has slain its thousands, my tongue its ten-thousands. Pile up my careless words, my crass words, my epithets and insults and boasts and see if that heap wouldn’t put Babel to shame. I have often elected my tongue to be my Lord Protector, silent of confession and loud with lies.
I have befriended white witches and black ogres, hags and efreets. I have made my home with jackals and quislings. I have betrayed for less than Judas ever did.
If you really knew me, you would despise me. Who wouldn’t?
Well, there is one. One who knows me, omniscient, to the bottom. One who could extend the preceding paragraphs to pages, chapters, books, volumes, libraries. One who knows temptation, but not sin. Who knows weakness, but not failure.
I have been loved by a lion-hearted son of Judah. He knows me—corrupted me!—and loves the same. The Stone Table cracked and death worked backwards. I have been restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established. I have been called, clothed, kissed, and crowned—Cair Paravel meets New Jerusalem. I look down at my hands, hands I have watched work misery and madness, hands I have lifted, fist-clenched, to God—and behold! A ring on those fingers. A signet ring, a Father’s ring.
“[He has] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
-2 Timothy 1:9–10
I am traitorous Edmund, pompous Eustace, Christ-denying Peter. And my God knew me before there was a me, and still he chose me. What are you hiding? Who are you trying to impress? Look inward, really look: What shame is squirming around your soul, trying avoid your gaze? What embarrassment? What guilt? Why let it keep you from grace?
Put down your fig leaves; you can’t hide from the sight of the One who made your eyes. Put down your breastplate; no homemade fortifications will keep out judgment. Why not rather be clean?
There is a fountain, filled with blood,
drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.
And sinner’s plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.
Amen and amen.