Over this past weekend I got a chance to indulge in my love of the Lord of the Rings series. Hobbits and the Shire and the mythos of Middle Earth have captivated me since I first read the books 46 years ago. Yesterday I watched the last movie depicting the carnage exploding in the great last battle for Middle Earth. As I did it occurred to me that there are parallels between that mythical story and our own time.
You may recall that the story begins with Bilbo Baggins the Hobbit. Hobbits are given to a “live and let live” approach to life. Bilbo was living a comfortable life in the Shire when he was approached to leave the comfort of his surroundings to go on a dangerous adventure. In the course of his journey with an assortment of wizards, dwarfs and elves, Bilbo learns that there is evil afoot and that the shadow of evil is spreading daily. After many harrowing experiences, Bilbo safely retires to his comfortable life in the Shire and puts the reality of the growing evil and danger in the rest of Middle Earth out of his mind. Fast forward 20 or 30 years and Bilbo’s nephew, Frodo, is enlisted by the forces of good who are seeking to thwart the rapidly spreading evil of the Dark Lord of Mordor. It seems that while everyone in the Shire has been living the good life, the forces of evil have grown incredibly strong and they are on the verge of completely overtaking all of Middle Earth.
In the end, the forces of good in Middle Earth finally united in their quest to defeat the evil forces of Mordor. Good prevailed in Middle Earth, but not without great cost. As a nation, we have been “living in the Shire” for decades. We have enjoyed the “good life”. We have been oblivious to the opposing forces that have been growing ever stronger and are now casting an incredibly dark shadow over our land and around the world. We may find that in our time our path will parallel that of the good creatures of Middle Earth. We may find that we prevail, but only at great cost.