Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The Return of the King
There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing:
there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
Book 6, Chapter 2 of 'The Lord of the Rings' by J.R.R. Tolkien
In this seemingly God-less world that we have inherited, there is a tendency for us to look at all the 'evil' around us and to despair, even of life at times. However, as we read in the quote above, it is when we lift our vision above the trials, tribulations and struggles of this thing we call 'Life' that we realize that there is a Power greater than the 'evil' that surrounds us! It is this Power which is at work in us; this Power enables us, through the strength He has given us, to deal with this 'evil', with these trials, tribulations and struggles, and to overcome and overturn them. It is this Power which enables us to rise above and to take hope in the fact that we have been made 'a new creation', 'the leaves of the Tree', that were 'for the healing of the nations'.
This Power, which resides in us is none other than the Almighty King, the Creator, and our Father!
As Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin ( can't forget Smeagol/Gollum ) awaited 'The Return of the King', and labored through much toil, hardship and oppression to destroy the one thing that stood in his way, so those first-century followers of Jesus the Christ awaited His return, while they labored through much toil, hardship and oppression and hardship to destroy the one thing that stood in the way of the advancement of His Kingdom, and the spread of His Gospel!
Much as the characters in J.R.R. Tolkien's inspired work; followers of the Son of God have found that, when necessary, they can do great deeds, many beyond their own imagined strength! Because of 'The Return of the King', and the final defeat of those who held the powers of sin and death, God's people no longer live under the threat of the Law, and are free to follow in His footsteps, in His strength, without worrying that one misstep could condemn them forever!
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven,
and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn,
and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven
with power and great glory.
When those first-century followers asked Jesus when He would return, He answered them with this statement. All those who rejected His inclusive Gospel would be suffer His adverse, but just judgment at His return! With Aragorn's return to the stage of ( middle-earth ) history, the force's of evil found themselves losing ground, and finally suffered defeat at the edge of his sword! Yet it was not without the aid of some very courageous followers that the battle was won! So it was in the first century, that the followers of Jesus the Christ overcame, through His strength, the forces of evil that threatened the spread of His Gospel!
Since our King has returned ( since the first century ) and taken up His Dwelling in the midst of His people, what effect should this have on and in their lives? How should we then live? Should we not live according to the freedom we have been given, like the fictional characters in J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece lived ( and fought ), as knowing that the power of evil had been crushed ( destroyed ); that though evil still happened, it had no 'fangs'! Because He has crushed the head of the 'serpent' forever, and now dwells in His New Temple, we can go forth 'conquering, and to conquer', knowing that His salvation is complete, and the battle has been won: we fight mere skirmishes!
Charles Haddon Shank