Lion Tears

All original artwork and text on this blog copyright 2019 Barbara Bjelland

(Border image above is a detail from my oil painting, “Festival with Dancing Goat.”)

I haven’t posted for a while. Big news: I was ordained to Word and Sacrament last June. I recently went to a great Pastor’s retreat, with speaker Kevin Butcher. I got back on Halloween, just in time to celebrate with my family. Our dog Caspian dressed up as an adorable lion.

lion caspi

The pastor’s retreat and Caspian’s costume are connected as “Lion Tears.” Let me explain:


In C.S. Lewis’ book, The “Silver Chair,” Aslan calls two children from our world into Narnia. (Aslan is the wild and good lion who is a Christ-figure.) Jill and Eustace rescue King Caspian’s son, who has been captured by an evil witch. King Caspian dies shortly afterward, and is carried away in an enchanted stream. It is here that we pick up the story:

They all three wept; even Aslan wept, “great lion tears, each tear more precious than the earth would be if it was a single solid diamond.”

Then Aslan asks Eustace to pluck a thorn and drive it into his paw. The drop of blood “splashed into the stream over the dead body of the King…and the dead King began to be changed… and suddenly he leapt up and stood before them…and he rushed to Aslan…and he gave Aslan the strong kisses of a king, and Aslan gave him the wild kisses of a Lion.”

And it all began with Aslan’s lion tears.

CS Lewis

So here is the connection: At the retreat, Pastor Kevin Butcher talked about tears–the need to lament, both individually and in the church community, for our own sorrows and those of the world. He shared the powerful story of Sonia, who began her healing path through lament. This discussion empowered me to take time to cry.

Then I came across some resources on this subject which spoke to me, which I would like to share. There is an important article in Christianity Today entitled, [The Pixar Movie] “Inside Out,” and Christian Sadness. The article quotes theologian Ben Myers who writes, “In the Protestant West today, smiling has become a moral imperative. The smile has become regarded as the objective externalization of a well-ordered life. Sadness is a moral failure.” The article continues that “this wasn’t Jesus’ way;” Jesus was the “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3).”

(Painting below is “Man of Sorrows” by Luis de Morales, c. 1560, Minneapolis Institute of Arts)


None of us wants to be sad. I believe God has joy in store for each one of us. However, the path to healing leads through grief and lament. Take time for the tears. The Man of Sorrows has time to meet with you there.

I invite you to follow my blog, comment and join the conversation!

Also, if you want to see some of my sacred art and Biblical illustration, please look at my “Original Art Exhibits” page.


Links to check out–these are insightful resources for pastors and all who grieve and lament:

  1. Pastor Kevin Butcher’s book is available to order from your local bookseller on Amazon (the part about Sonia lamenting loudly in church is on p. 56 :

2. Theologian Ben Myer’s blog, “On Smiling and Sadness: Twelve Theses:”


3. Christianity Today about Pixar’s new film Inside Out

4. Blog by Pastor Geoff Sinibaldo, on the painting above of Jesus, the Man of Sorrows:




One thought on “Lion Tears

  1. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Barbara. Here in America the church only seems to want the image of the laughing, smiling Jesus.


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