The Gospel According to The Lord of the Rings: Week 43, Saved By Grace or Luck?

Before turning our attention back to Frodo and Sam in Book 4, one last note about the "deep narrative" of the story appearing with the Company.

After the fall of Isengard, Gandalf takes with him the palantír, the round crystal ball Saruman was using to communicate with Sauron.

For some reason, the palantír holds an allure for Pippin, who is drawn to it in way that serves as an allegory of desire and sin. In the night, Pippin steals the palantír from Gandalf and looks into it.

Looking into the palantír Pippin comes face to face with Sauron, who questions him. Pippin cries out and awakens Gandalf.

Upon learning what Pippin has done Gandalf examines Pippin and finds that no damage has been done to him. Relieved, he shares this with Pippin:

But mark this! You have been saved, and all your friends too, mainly by good fortune, as it is called.

Is Pippin saved by grace or by luck? Gandalf seems to hint that what we call luck might actually be grace. We could be misdescribing our lives. There's a joke I've been telling for years. When something fortuitous happens, I'll say, "We were lucky, or it was providential, depending upon your metaphysic."

Not a real knee slapper of a joke. But it illustrates Gandalf's point. Is your life a story of grace or luck? Is someone watching out for us or is it all just random chance? It reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan's movie Signs. In the movie you may recall Mel Gibson's character is a priest struggling with faith, and at the start of the movie he shares this:

People break down into two groups. When they experience something lucky, group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance...deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they're on their own. And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people. But there's a whole lot of people in group number one...they're looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?

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