The Gospel According to The Lord of the Rings: Week 25, The Sacrifice on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm

Unable to cross the mountains because of the snow, the Fellowship reluctantly decides to pass through the Mines of Moria. In the mines, the group faces the Balrog, the creature of darkness the Dwarves unwittingly awakened as they dug deep--too deep--searching for mithril.

In the climatic moment, Gandalf confronts the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, sacrificing himself for Frodo and the others. As Fleming Rutledge writes, Gandalf "becomes the sacrifice for all the others as he falls into the abyss. The Ring-bearer escapes because, at the crucial juncture, Gandalf interposes himself between Frodo and the demon. It is another Christ-like moment."

As we know--Spoiler Alert!--a resurrection event is in The Fellowship's future. Which can tempt some to think that Gandalf is the Christ-figure of the story. But a Rutledge points out, no one character in the story should be identified as the sole Christ-figure. Rather, there are Christ-like moments and actions, over and over again. Every member of the Fellowship, at some point, stands in the place of Christ. Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry, Pippen, Sam, Frodo, and even Boromir. Each are called to their Christ-like moments.

The same is true of us.

As Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote: "Christ plays in ten thousand places, Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his."

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