Light and High Beauty (May 24, 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…

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. (The Return of the King, Bk. 6, Ch. II)

…Filling Up…

The second to last day of this season of Devo180 brings us to the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. Frodo and Sam have just escaped from the tower of Cirith Ungol, where the orcs had slain each while fighting over Frodo’s mithril coat. The two hobbits find themselves in enemy territory, where no good thing grows and where danger lurks around every corner. And to top it all off, as they move ever closer to Mount Doom (the only place where the ring can be unmade) the ring resists more and more, making ever step Frodo takes a challenge.

They have reached the bleakest days of their long journey. Everything around them is strange, foreboding, hostile, and dark. Could there possibly be any hope left?

Yes. The answer to that question is always “Yes.”

Sam looks up and sees a star twinkling high up in the sky – beyond the Shadow, beyond the reach of evil and malice. And Sam realizes in a flash of insight that “in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”

The thing about stars is that we can only see them on clear nights. They aren’t visible through clouds and they aren’t visible during the day (well, except that big one we call the sun). But they are always there whether or not we can see them. When Sam witnesses the white star twinkle, he remembers the truth that even the faintest of hopes is still hope, even as the faintest of flames gives off light.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you are constantly loving this creation into existence. Help me to remember that no hope is too small to contain your promise. 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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