The Gospel According to The Lord of the Rings: Week 8, All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter

Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin make it to Bree where they meet Strider (Aragorn). Here with Aragorn we start to unpack some of Tolkien's theology concerning Christology and kingship.

When the Hobbits first encounter the king he's not very, well, kingly. He's worn and weathered. But as the poem goes:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
Two theological observations about Tolkien's view of "kingship."

First, as we learn more about Aragorn as the story unfolds, we come to see that the king, as a Ranger, has spent his entire life serving and protecting others, especially the defenseless, like the Hobbits of the Shire.

Second, we also learn that the distinctive mark of the king is his ability to heal. We see this first displayed after Frodo is stabbed with the Morgul-knife on Weathertop. But the king's healing powers are on full display after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. In healing the wounded, Aragorn fulfills the old legend about the future king of Gondor: "The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known."

Humble service. Defense of the weak. Healing. These are the marks of the king in The Lord of the Rings, and in displaying these characteristics Aragorn points us toward the King of Kings.

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One thought on “The Gospel According to The Lord of the Rings: Week 8, All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter”

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