Happily Ever After: The Return of the King (Part 3 of 3)
Welcome to part three in my series on lessons I learned from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This is the closer, people. The music is swelling. The breath is baited. The swords are drawn.
1. The lighting of the beacons. I’m not sure why I love this scene so much, but I’m always struck by the lighting of the beacons. It’s very powerful imagery. As hard as it is for me, I have to remember that there will be times when I need help. I should never be afraid to ask for help. And on the flip side, I should always be available to help someone else. It’s perfectly normal to be on either side.
2. Stewardship and pride. The steward of Gondor lost sight of his role. He became drunk with the position of power and ignored his actual duty to the throne. It became about him rather than the kingdom. Not a stretch of imagination there to see the correlation. However, as stewards of the things on this earth, we should learn a lesson from him: turn or burn. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
3. We’ll screw up. Bless Frodo’s heart; he sure did a number on Sam. It’s a good thing that Sam was a true friend and stayed loyal even though Frodo told him to get lost. But just like Frodo, we will screw up a friendship or two at some point. There will be ones that will reconcile, and sadly, there will be ones that won’t. It’s crucial to mend the ones that we can, and have a clear conscious on the ones we can’t.
4. People pleasers. Wanting to please people can end up getting you hurt, but it’s really hard not to want to please the people that we respect or from whom we desire attention. For Borimer, it was his father. But it can be just about anyone, for good or bad reasons. However, it is our Heavenly Father that we must be most concerned about. We have already been given His love and attention. This fact can be really hard to remember when it doesn’t physically stare you in the face each day, but it is still true. Out of all the things God has control over in the universe, He desires a relationship with you.
5. Grab your sword. The battle for Middle Earth called on everyone that lived in it to fight. Our entire cast of characters all ended up as part of the war. Merry and Pippin, who joined the group inadvertently and avoided conflict at all cost in the beginning, even volunteered at the end because they caught the vision. They believed in the cause. They saw their place in the story. There is a great battle going on every day. Even though we can’t usually see it, we are part of it. Evil is on the attack. We tend to overlook that, or easily get distracted from it. But Ephesians 6:10-20 clearly outlines the armor we need to be best prepared for war. If you have caught the vision, believe in the cause, and see your place in the story, you have no excuse.
6. Friends forever. Find friends who will stick with you till the end. Support is a strength we cannot afford to overlook. It is what saved Frodo in the end.
7. To quote. In Frodo’s final monologue he laments, “How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when, in your heart, you begin to understand there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep, and have taken hold.” Some experiences will change you forever. There are times that it is hard to accept that things can’t go back to the way they were, the good ol’ days. But the experiences that change us, both positive and negative, still lend to our growth. It’s all in our perspective.
8. The end is near. I know there are loads of people who were bugged by the fact that the movie had multiple endings or went on too long or whatever. But to be fair, Bilbo did tell Frodo, “There’s always room for a little more.” Same goes with life. There are multiple stages in our lives that signify one end and another beginning. Each comes with it’s own set of opportunities and challenges. Will you make the best of it? Will you be open to another adventure? Or will you just become frustrated that the old and familiar is over? There is no adventure in complacency.
9. The King will return! I recently heard Francis Chan say that we should live as if the next breath will be taken in heaven. I know I don’t do this; I get too easily distracted by the details of my life. My focus is often on the wrong things, the temporal things. But this promise is something I need to make a priority in my life. The Good News is that Jesus desperately loves us, redeemed us and will come back!
10. Special features. I’m one of those people that actually enjoys watching the special features, particularly this series. Yep, it does take another week of my time but I feel it’s worth the investment. It deepens my love and appreciation for these movies, the story and the characters. I love to know the work that went into making them, the passion people had for the project, and the admiration people had for the director. It’s a glimpse behind-the-scenes of a great work. To me, it’s the equivalent of watching an artist sketch and paint their masterpiece. The really cool thing with the Bible is that we do get all of those pieces. Follow the 66 books through the timeline of history and you will see the same things: the puzzle pieces, the passion and the admiration. No story, how epic or masterful, can ever match the Bible. The lengths that Creator God will go to in order to connect with us will always be the greatest ever told. And we get to be a part of it!
I could literally come up with ten more from each movie easily, or expand in greater detail, but I guess I’ll stop here. No one is probably reading anyway! Heck, I’ve had a good time, though. But now you can get a glimpse of why I love them so much. They are as rich as they are entertaining. I’ve not written anything earth-shattering, but I hope that I got you thinking nonetheless.
And I won’t lie, after writing these blogs I can’t wait to watch them again! I would also love to hear any that you came up with, so let me know.
PS – Did anyone else notice that Mordor looks a lot like the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle? Glowing green and lots of rocks? Evil henchman walking out of a big black gate? I’m just saying…
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