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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cair Andros

Ok, I will admit to reading the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings north of 35 times.  For my money Tolkien was a master at building an alternate reality.  All on the table, I have read Narnia almost as many times, and I have read all of the Potter books approaching 10 times.
Cair Andros

What does that have to do with dads teaching their kids the Bible?

In the third book of the trilogy, The Return of the King, after the battle for Minas Tirith is won, Aragorn leads the combined armies to assault the black gates of Mordor.  On the way there it becomes obvious to him that some of the younger soldiers were frightened to the point of uselessness.  Rather than berating them, he assigns them the task of retaking Cair Andros.  The passage bears repeating:
Aragorn looked at them, and there was pity in his eyes rather than wrath; for these were young men from Rohan, and from Westfold far away, or husbandmen from Lossarnach, and to them Mordor had been from childhood a name of evil, and yet unreal, a legend that had no part in their simple life; and now they walked like men in a hideous dream made true, and they understood not this war nor why fate should lead them to such a pass. 
‘Go!’ said Aragorn.  ‘But keep what honour you may, and do not run!  And there is a task which you may attempt and so be not wholly shamed.  Take your way south-west till you come to Cair Andros, and if that is still held by enemies, as I think, then re-take it, if you can; and hold it to the last in defense of Gondor and Rohan!’
As you may know, there is a lot of Christological imagery in LOTR.  This is one of those passages.  The King, gives an honorable task to those whom he knows are unable to stand against the coming battle.  He responds to their unspoken fear, with grace.

Christ was the model for this.  Several times in His ministry He responded to those who either He had challenged and they turned away or those whom He would not allow to follow Him with kindness.  The best two examples are Mark 5:19 and Mark 10:21.

In the past I have been overly harsh to those who were not up to a challenge.  I would do much better to follow in my Lord’s compassion and provide alternative as Tolkien had his Kind do.  That, I think, would serve my King more effectively.

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