I have recently re-watched the Lord of the Rings (LotR) Trilogy and I am still impressed with the amount of meaningful truths that Tolkien embedded within this epic narrative.
I remember seeing the movies back when they first came out and they just struck me as some weird sci fi with some good action scenes. It wasn’t until a pastor introduced me to the books and I heard him use LotR in his sermons that I realised there was a lot of truth concealed masterfully within.
The same can be said about the scriptures, as well as any other spiritual texts, that they can have a timeless way of conveying truth that transcends culture and trends.
Having said that let’s dive in, towards the end of the Trilogy, Frodo, a main character had completed his task of carrying the Ring back to mount Doom and destroying it. This is where most stories and movies tie the action up with a simple happy ending, but not Tolkien.
The book had an even longer sub plot as the hobbits return to the Shire than the movie but I’ll cut to the chase, when Frodo returns to his home his he unsettled and finds it difficult returning back to normal, in fact he can’t even though he tries for 4 years.
Frodo, being a ring bearer, finds that it has left a deep sense of emptiness, that somehow evil had wounded him forever. This leads him to leave middle earth with Gandalf and Bilbo with the Elves to go and live in the Gray Havens.
I have recently felt compelled to read the Royal commission reports on child protection systems and on institutional cover ups of sexual abuse. Why would I do this you might think? Well I work in the child protection system and I also knew some other people affected in churches.
Let me tell you this heavy stuff and quite heart breaking. I found myself moved to anger, rage and tears at times, but most of all I don’t want this stuff forgotten or glossed over. I, myself have never been the victim of sexual abuse but it has affected my life personally without going into any details.
It more than any, is an evil that grows powerful in the dark and secret places. It scars and torments people their whole lives and eats away at their souls. It mars and twists God’s good creation that bears His image. The effects of this evil don’t just disappear, it create a burden that must be carried by those who didn’t inflict it.
I can relate to Frodo in this. Evil, not just sexual abuse, but evil as a dark destructive force, had wounded not only me but every person I know to varying degrees. It’s been a burden that I have carried for people. I have given myself up and surrendered myself to be as Christ is
For these people and situations. It affects you in some deep existential way that cannot be named or explained. It does leave you with only one destination though, Frodo’s Grey Havens, is my Kingdom of God, the only home I can live in now. Something broke in me a long time ago, and left me unable to carelessly breeze through life, uncaring and unchanging.
I take no comfort in the things that other people might, they are like empty and meaningless. My only comfort is by the Spirit of God and my only guide is the life of Christ, God‘s ultimate burden bearer and undoer of evil.
The Gospels tell us of Jesus’ encounters with evil and it’s affects on people, communities and nations. Evil is the dark forces that are leashed when people sin, which is why through people’s sin, destruction can go way beyond just one person’s actions.
It is also why some small hidden sin can unleash such disproportionate darkness. Just think of Peter’s response to Jesus telling his disciples he must suffer and die as his calling and vocation of Israel’s messiah. Peter opposed Jesus and didn’t realise that his idea of messiah was not God’s plan for Jesus. Jesus rebuked Peter in the strongest way, saying ‘get behind me Satan’.
Who can say what darkness humanity would find themselves in if Jesus had failed in his mission. So please Remember those people, who in their jobs and daily lives stand as a barrier between us and the darkness.
Think about police, emergency services, nurses, mental health workers, soldiers and counsellors to name a few. Say a prayer for them and remember that it comes at a price to their very souls.
Mark is a Press Service International young writer from Adelaide.
His previous articles can be read here: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-flippance.html