The Utter East: What a Mouse Can Teach Us About Eternity

I’m currently reading through the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Like many, my childhood memories include traveling with the Pevensie children through a wardrobe filled with fur coats to a land called Narnia. I adored Lucy. She entered Narnia first, saw Aslan the most, and had faith when many did not.

As an adult, I have discovered a new favorite character. Reepicheep, a two-foot mouse introduced briefly in Prince Caspian, plays a significant role in the book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. He joins King Caspian, Lucy, Edmund, a reluctant Eustace, and the ship’s crew on an adventure to seek out the Seven Lost Lords

The valiant mouse has another reason for being aboard the Dawn Treader. As a young pup, he listened as a Dryad sung over his cradle these enigmatic words:

Where the sky and water meet,
When the waves grow sweet
Doubt not, Reepicheep
To find all you seek
There is the utter east

He doesn’t know what it means—really—just that it impacts his destiny and creates a longing for Aslan’s country. So, he joins the company of the Dawn Treader to explore uncharted islands, brave a great darkness, survive a sea storm, and travel to the world’s end.

Of the many adventures aboard the Dawn Treader, most happen because of the bravery of Reepicheep. Even the search party for Eustace, an annoying traveler that no one really cares for, is spurred on by his devotion to the fellowship. 

The way Reepicheep lives his life reminds me of Paul’s words to the Corinthians.

He says:

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. —2 Corinthians 5:6-10

What can we learn from a little mouse about our time here on earth and eternity to come?

Be Devoted to One Another | Romans 12:10

Even at the risk of his own safety, Reepicheep devoted himself to the safety and honor of his king and the fellowship of travelers aboard the Dawn Treader. We’ve already mentioned his devotion to Eustace—a boy he didn’t even like. 

When Eustace turns into a dragon, Reepicheep sits beside him at night sharing tales of knights and kings who had overcome a great obstacle. Though his words were not very comforting, the devotion of the fine mouse left a lasting impression on the boy.

Might we, too, devote ourselves to one another in love? Might we outdo one another with honor in our words and actions? Yes—even those who are hard to love and honor. 

Keep the Faith | 2 Timothy 4:7-8

After many great adventures, the weary travelers encounter an island with what they soon learn are the enchanted sleeping bodies of the final three Lords. They have finished their quest. They have found or learned the destiny of all seven men. But to wake the sleeping Lords, they must travel to the world’s end and leave a traveler behind. 

Though many are ready to return home, Reepicheep says, “My own plans are made. 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 in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise…”

In a fairy tale sort of way, these words remind me of Paul’s speech of fighting the good fight and finishing the race. Like the men aboard the Dawn Treader, we might be tempted to stop just short of all God has called us to do. The kids are raised and serving Jesus, retirement is on the horizon, the bank account guarantees a life of leisure. But God has not called us to a life of leisure. May we finish strong with our “nose to the sunrise.” 

Longing and Living

We can learn so much from this little mouse. While we have a purpose to brave this world, to love and honor each other, and to use our time on earth to point as many to Christ as we can, may we set our hearts, continually, on the utter east.

Published: Nov 1, 2021


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