The Gospel According to The Lord of the Rings: Week 12, Memory

Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin and Strider strike out from Bree. They enter the wilderness, making for Weathertop, the Black Riders now closing in on them.

As the groups approaches Weathertop Strider shares some of the old lore about its history, how "It is told that Elendil stood there watching for the coming of Gil-galad out of the West, in the days of the Last Alliance."

The hobbits ask "Who was Gil-galad?" And Sam surprises them by singing a song:
Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing:
the last whose realm was fair and free
between the Mountains and the Sea...
Sam had learned the song from Bilbo when he was a child.

Fleming Rutledge observes about this scene that we're introduced here to one of Tolkien's great themes: Memory.

As Rutledge writes, "Communal memory, for Tolkien as for Christians, is a central human responsibility; forgetting is a deprivation and, indeed, a mortal sin, as the Hebrew prophets repeatedly attest...Those who can remember, therefore, are held in high esteem throughout The Lord of the Rings."

There are many examples of this, how families tell and retell their stories or how churches remember and pass on their history. But I'm thinking today about the "old lore" of the Scripture. Remembering and telling those ancient stories, and especially the Gospel stories. And how Jesus's final commands were to love each other and to remember.

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