The Gospel According to The Lord of the Rings: Week 19, Believe Rather That It Is So Ordered

After a season of recuperation, the Council of Elrond is convened. Representatives from the Wise, the Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, and Humans are called by Elrond to discuss the the looming threat of Sauron, what to do about the Ring of Power, and the fate of Middle Earth.

After an opening statement by the Dwarves regarding a ploy of Mordor to get them to recover the Ring, Fleming Rutledge draws our attention to the opening speech of Elrond:
"That is the purpose for which you are called hither. Called, I say, though I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands. You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, must now find counsel for the peril of the world."
Here, again, Rutledge highlights the "deep narrative" of the story, the "something else" at work in the story, a guiding, providential hand. Those gathered at Rivendell are not there by chance. They have been "called." They are there because "it is so ordered."

By what and by whom? The story doesn't say, but here the "deep narrative" is pointing our minds toward God.

But this hiddenness of God also presents a challenge. As Rutledge highlights, it is not obvious that the meeting in Rivendell has been "called." It could have been due to "chance." So the meeting is open to rival interpretations. Two hermeneutical options sit before the group. How should they read the story of their lives and of this event? Chance or called?

And at this crossroads Elrond points to faith: "By chance it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered."


That's our crossroads. On the one hand, our life is ultimately the product of chance. That's the view of materialism, when you dig down into the laws of physics. Materialism is an ontology of death.

On the other hand, you have been called. Your life is a high stakes moral drama, and you are being called to action in the face of the perils of the world.

That's the hermeneutical fork in the road.

By chance your life may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered.

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