Finding God in the Lord of the Rings
When we stayed at The Sandcastle in Golden Bay, we toyed with the idea of leaving a day earlier than planned, partially because of the strange spiritual atmosphere we were experiencing there. (Takaka & the Golden Bay area is famed as “Hippie Country,” and we definitely found this to be true.) We also realized we were itching to move on to the next place. But this plan completely changed once our host, Steve, brought just the DVDs we needed to watch: The Two Towers & The Return of the King. This was right where we left off before we left the States. I told Lori, “We have to stay and finish this movie.”
Because we stayed just one day later, we were able to have a really good conversation with Akash, our cottage-mate who was taking time to refocus after spending time at an ashram. She felt a connection & conviction after watching the Lord of the Rings movies with us. Akash had been raised Catholic and left the religion with a bad taste in her mouth, feeling stifled by the rules & regulations. She probed us with questions about our Faith and we simply responded with Truth. We spoke straightforwardly of the one True God since she had been exploring other religions and struggled to find peace.
Remember this is hippie country, so many there were very spiritually open to things like mysticism. Who knew how many gods they worship. Our host prayed before dinner each night, but we didn’t know what god he was praying to. Akash was looking for something, and the Lord of the Rings appealed to her. And we found God in it.
It appears that truth and fiction are not as far apart as they seem. This movie is full of redemption, values, and faith against all odds. There is so much one can relate biblically to this story. However, Tolkien explicitly said that he did not intend Lord of the Rings to be an allegory of anything, Biblical or otherwise.
I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of the readers I think that many confuse ‘applicability’ with ‘allegory’; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.
This must be how The Lord of the Rings appeals to so many. A myth is different. “The essence of a myth [is] that it should have no taint of allegory to the maker and yet should suggest incipient allegories to the reader.” ~ C.S. Lewis
It is well known that Tolkien had a strong Christian faith and lead atheist Lewis to Christ. And it is interesting how it happened. Tolkien was talking about a “True Myth”:
To Tolkien the story of Jesus Christ is a “true myth.” When Tolkien shared this concept with C.S. Lewis during an afternoon walk, Lewis felt “a rush of wind that came so suddenly,” and within days proclaimed his belief in Christ, becoming one of Christianity’s most effective apologists.
Amazing. I told Akash something like: “There is something truly different and mystic about Jesus that overrules all the other deities & religions out there that you’re looking into. Many people believe all religions are just different paths that all take you to the top of a mountain to reach the same God. However, in Christianity, our God came down from the mountaintop and redeemed us!”
When I mentioned to Akash how Tolkien modeled the Elvish language after the Finnish language, she said that when she first saw us she somehow thought that we were from Finland. This girl can see something. She has a gift, and I pray the Holy Spirit has her so she can use that gift properly.
When we first met her in our cottage, I had the prophetic inclination that she was a writer and I shared that with her. It resonated within her, having been told by palm readers that she had the “lines” for writing. And thus began all her questions about the Way we followed. Before we left, Akash hugged us and said, “Thanks for having that conversation with me yesterday.”
God is really funny like that. He knows what to draw us with, and it turned out to be a great stay. We learned to be undisturbed by the atmosphere around us. Being there in the thick of such mysticism made our hearts well up with gladness for the One True God all that much more.