The fiction of Tolkien points to a grand reality
It is amazing how good fiction, such as that that flowed from the pen of J.R.R. Tolkien, helps us to understand reality better. Consider how he weaved real life issues such as sin, evil, corruption, death, purity, virtue, friendship, love, and hate into his rich characters. Few of us can pick up his Lord of the Rings books and not find ourselves for good or for bad walking in the shoes of one of its cast of players. The beauty of Tolkien is that his timeless missives deal with redemption that by nature we all desire.
There are many greater writers and stories that fill the books that litter the shelves of popular bookstores worldwide. The problem with many of these stories is that the fail to connect with the great story that is written on our hearts. Romans 1 and 2 give us clear teaching on the fact that all men regardless of confession know that there is a God, that He has created us, that He is worthy of worship, and that we have failed Him and are sinful. Tolkien’s fiction is laced with these themes. There is no agnostic ambiguity. Evil is on one side, good is on the other, and his characters find themselves in the middle; some making their flawed but persistent way to good and some tragically being overcome by evil.
There are many ways that we can choose to entertain ourselves. Few methods, however, have the redeeming value that can be found in reading Tolkien. I am re-reading the Lord of the Rings saga for the third time. I am at the point where the party is about to decided to travel through the mines of Moria. As I sit with Frodo and Gandalf and ponder the difficult path that lies ahead I am captivated by imagery that reminds me that I am flawed, that I am a small but important player in a much greater story, and that redemption can be found by faith. This is the legacy of my great tutor J.R.R. Tolkien. I only wish he were here for me to thank in person.