Trust to Friendship (May 22, 2012)

…Opening To…

Frodo heard a sweet singing running in his mind: a song that seemed to come like a pale light behind a grey rain-curtain, and growing stronger to turn the veil all to silver and glass, until at last it was rolled back, and a far green country opened before him under a swift sunrise. (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, Ch. VIII)

…Listening In…

‘It is true that if these hobbits understood the danger, they would not dare to go. But they would still wish to go, or wish that they dared, and be shamed and unhappy. I think, Elrond, that it this matter it would be well to trust to their friendship than to great wisdom.’ (The Fellowship of the Ring, Bk. 2, Ch. 3)

…Filling Up…

Today is day two of five with The Lord of the Rings to close out another season of devotiONEighty. The four hobbits, with the help of the mysterious stranger Strider, succeed in making it all the way to Rivendell. The escape from several challenges on the way, but nothing that could prepare them for what is further on the road.

A council meets in Elrond’s house, and the council decides that the ring must be destroyed. Frodo accepts the burden to carry the ring once more, but he must need companions. The council decides that a company of nine is suitable to match the nine black riders that are hunting for the ring. With two spot to fill, Gandalf speaks the words above in support of Merry and Pippin, who might have been left behind otherwise.

What a wonderful thought Gandalf voices: “It would be well to trust to their friendship than to great wisdom.” Wisdom in this case says to send a few more stout warriors, the better to protect the ringbearer. But Gandalf councils against this. Rather, the friendship that the hobbits have for each other is fiercer than any warrior, stouter than any sword or armor.

The Lord of the Rings, in the end, is a tale about friendship. In our walks with God, we often talk of bearing one another’s burdens or of having fellowship with one another. But I don’t often hear of us talking about the friendships that we make because of our relationships with God. The old hymn sings: “What a friend I have in Jesus.” But do we really consider Jesus a friend? I imagine that many of us would think such a thing presumptuous at best.

But Jesus himself named his disciples his friends when they lived by his commandment to love one another. When we see friendship as a spiritual calling, we can walk through all sorts of new doors that God opens for us. Think of your closest friend. How does your friendship with that person support your relationship with God? How does your relationship with God support that friendship? Friendship is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. We may not be privy to great wisdom, as Elrond is, but all of us can share in the gift of friendship.

…Praying For…

Dear God, thank you for the friends that you have given me to support me in my life with you. Thank you for the laughter, the joy, and the consolation they have brought to my life. Help me to do the same for them. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, knowing that you have gifted me with companions to take the journey with me.

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