“. . . I was entirely respectable, and nothing unexpected ever happened.”
Am I the only one who recalls the 19th Century American hymn This is My Father’s World when the theme music for the Shire plays in the Lord of the Rings movies? Listen to the first few seconds of the clips below and see if you get where I’m coming from.
Maybe that was the intention of the movie makers. The hymn was written by a pastor in upstate NY who loved nature walks. It’s about how God’s creation reminds us that he is in control. You’d be hard pressed to find a more tranquil tune. If it was intentional, it was a brilliant move because it enhances the description of the Shire.
A theme in the movies, and certainly in the most recent edition The Hobbit, is that the residents of the Shire (the hobbits) are peaceful and enjoy uneventful lives. They love to read books and eat great food while enjoying their scenic surroundings. Hobbits don’t desire adventure, which makes them prime candidates to have one of their kind transport the Ring to its demise. The ring could grant power to its bearer that even the best of men couldn’t resist. A hobbit would at least stand a chance against its lures.
Randy Brunko, Senior Pastor at Evangel Baptist Church where I am Outreach Pastor, is a Lord of the Rings crazy man. He read the books as a child and has seen every movie several times. He even waited in line to see the premier midnight showing of The Hobbit in our town along with all those people who dress up like hobbits, orcs and wizards (I’m not sure if he dressed up). His fascination with the books has culminated in a great sermon series called Leaving The Shire.
Randy’s point is that Christians are too comfortable. The Shire is a great place, but God doesn’t call us to live cozy lives in the familiar setting of our churches. God has called us to go out into the world and to bring Jesus to people who are lost. That’s the whole point of being a Christian!
Are you the kind of Christian who is “entirely respectable,” and to whom “nothing unexpected ever happens?” It’s time to leave the Shire. Don’t worry, God will be in control even when things go wrong.
There’s a scene in the first movie where Frodo, the Hobbit chosen to carry the Ring to Mount Doom, gets a glimpse into the future of what will happen if he doesn’t fulfill his quest. He sees the Shire in ruins and his kind taken away in chains. Isn’t that what’s happening in our culture? Christians have been hanging out in the Shire for too long, and our Shires are disappearing by the thousands every year.
Just like the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings series, the fate of the world rests on your shoulders, so it’s time end your rest.
Do not suppose that I [Jesus]have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword . . . Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34, 39 NIV)