The Gospel According To...The Lord of the Rings

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Series Disclaimer: The writers of this series do not endorse everything found in these movies. Please use discretion on what is beneficial for you or your family to watch. Our hope is to help us look at the movies (and all of life) through the eyes of faith! (Also, Spoiler Alert: if you haven’t seen these movies, we will give away a lot of what happens!)

What does the earth-saving quest of nine companions—two men, a dwarf, an elf, four hobbits and a wizard—have to do with the Gospel? You might be surprised…let’s look through the eyes of faith.

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved story (3rd best-selling book of all time behind The Bible and Harry Potter), this fellowship of nine companions goes on a quest to stop the evil lord Sauron from dominating Middle-Earth by destroying a powerful magic ring he created to be lord over other powerful lords with their powerful rings. You might say Sauron wanted to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

In this epic saga, there are many powerful forces at work to determine the future of Middle-Earth (the main part of Tolkien’s sub-created world of Arda). However, the key players in this drama are the smallest, weakest, and perhaps the quirkiest creatures of all people in Middle-Earth: the hobbits. Hobbits are between three and four feet tall, with short legs, slightly pointed ears, and furry feet with leathery soles. They love a rather plain life of farming, eating, smoking their pipes, socializing and talking about genealogies. They are a simple folk.

When the stakes are highest, the fate of mankind is not determined by the wise, the strong, or the powerful by human standards. The noblest hero in the story is the most humble of the hobbits—Sam Gamgee. Sam is the son of a simple gardener—the old Gaffer—and is rather simple himself. He is not the smartest guy in the room, but he is certainly the wisest. Sam isn’t the most shrewd, but he is the most pure. He isn’t the most successful, but he is the most childlike. The ring corrupts everyone who tries to take it and use it, even those who try to use this power for “good.” Everyone except Sam. Sam lays the ring down freely when the time comes because the only power Sam cares for is the power of love. Since Sam was the only one in the story who wasn’t controlled by having the ring in his possession, you might say that Sam was the only Lord of the Rings.

This reminds me of Paul’s articulation of the gospel to the church at Corinth: “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

Jesus was born in a lowly stable, by a humble virgin, to an unknown carpenter’s family in a backwoods town, was persecuted by the powerful of His time, and freely died a humiliating death on an awful instrument of torture…He laid down His power for the sake of love. God the Father raised Him up and made him King of Kings and Lord of Lords—He is the true Lord of the Rings.