Saturday, April 28, 2012

E-nklings Cloud of Witnesses: Hope, Hobbits and Higher Things

Higher Things is a whole lot of Lutheran goodness. Good Theology. Good, historic worship. Good fun. And recently I was reminded, good friends. This is one of the places I identify most with the hobbits, good friends. Speaking of good friends, here's a smashing good post from my friends, Jon Kohlmeier from Higher Things. It's worth your time...not because he mentions my name in his post. And it's not because I enjoy being a guest on HT Radio (although I do, immensely). But because this post reveals a great deal about how to understand LOTR in light of the Christian faith. There  is much to admire about the Hobbits, even though their stature may fool you at first. So, you may know him as the voice that keeps Pastor Borghardt on task on HT Radio, but I know him as the Monk of Milwaukee and the Monk of Middle-Earth. Enjoy this edition of E-nklings Cloud of Witnesses, Hobbit style.

Hope for Despairing Hobbits

I always feel like I need to watch Lord of the Rings after Pr. Schuldheisz is on HT-Radio. So, this time I actually did start Fellowship of the Ring. I came across the Death of Gandalf scene that's posted above. The beautifully sad soundtrack at a time when it seems all hope is lost. Gandalf, the wise, unquestioned leader of the Fellowship is the first to fall. How can they possibly complete their quest after losing the wise, powerful friend? How can they even continue without Mithrandir, their grey pilgrim? All hope is lost.

Aragorn steps up. He lives up to his other name, Estel. He has hope. He does not fall into despair or abandon his purpose. Although his friend had fallen he must keep the rest of the fellowship from despairing to their own deaths. "Pick them up." They must get to a place where it is safe, a forest, a place of life. The Hobbits have no desire to get up they are lost in their despair. They can only be lifted up by those who have been placed in their lives and travel with them.

We fall into despair too. We have no desire to get up and keep moving forward. All hope is lost how can things ever be right again? We despair unto our own death.

The Lord places people in our lives to pick us up. To show that there still is hope. They direct us from that place that will kill us to a place that is safe, a place of life. Our pastors, friends, and family direct us to where there is true hope. Where there is no distress and only life. They direct us to God's Gifts. His Word and His Sacrements. They drown you in the life-giving water of your baptism. The hope in Christ's death and resurrection is placed directly into your mouth. Your despair and hopelessness is swallowed up in the unquestionable hope that you have in Christ.

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