It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo.
The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were.
And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end…
because how could the end be happy?
How could the world go back to the way it was
when so much bad had happened?
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow.
Even darkness must pass.
A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you.
That meant something,
even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.
I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back,
only they didn’t.
They kept going, because they were holding on to something.
That there is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
~J.R.Tolkien from The Two Towers
“Save me from all oppression, conspiracy, and rebellion; from violence, battle, and murder; and from dying suddenly and unprepared.”
~The Book of Common Prayer
It used to be that people feared a sudden, unprepared death,
because they feared meeting God sudden and unprepared.
Now, we only fear death —
because we don’t fear God.
Turn on any street corner, walk through any airport, sit on the edge of any hospital bed, and you can see the glorious wonder of it:
All the faces of humanity carry the image of God.
~Ann Voskamp from “A Holy Experience”
What is man that He is mindful of us – no matter who we are, where we are – we are His reflection.
His face is mirrored in ours: the old and dried up and wrinkled beyond recognition, or the mere floating conceptus, yet to implant and thrive.
When we are overwhelmed by the events of the world, when it seems all is in shadow, we must remember, whether old and feeble or as yet unborn, we are part of a great story and our plot progression is a mystery. We keep going because we are holding on to something better than any treasure.
We are promised light and joy at the end, no question about it. We will pass through the shadows and through His grace, the darkness will pass right through us, never to dwell within or surround us again.
This year’s Barnstorming theme for the season of Lent:
God sees us as we are,
loves us as we are,
and accepts us as we are.
But by His grace,
He does not leave us where we are.