June 7th, 2015


Morning thought as we enter to worship God . . .

It seems you can’t take ten steps in our house without stumbling on a book from Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings/Hobbit” collection. Next to the Bible, this is my wife’s favorite thing to read. In fact, I’m pretty sure Jeni’s three favorite fellas are Jesus, me and Frodo.

Why do Tolkien’s works still mesmerize readers and movie-goers decades after they were written? Perhaps because they reflect a tension familiar to all of us: a hunger for peace and redemption in a place of suffering and sorrow.

It has been said that good fiction simply reflects the true Story of stories: God’s Word. The characters and situations vary, but the storylines remain the same-a dark world in desperate need of peace, hope and rest.

How tragic that some people view the Bible as just a manual for successful living and miss the point (and eternity) entirely. For the Bible is not primarily a rulebook, but a redemption story. It begins and ends in gardens of paradise, bridged by a garden of darkness, called Gethsemane. It begins and ends with a Tree of Life, connected by a tree of death, on which our Redeemer hung. It begins in sorrow, as mankind falls. It ends in joy, when, as in Tolkien’s story, the good King returns and brings rest to his followers.

The Bible is not merely a manual for right living. It’s not intended as a smorgasbord of tips for earthly success. It is our guide to life-life found not in our own goodness, but in Christ’s perfect work. It is not merely a path to becoming a better person, but a path to the Perfect Man, in whom lies the hope of the world.

Read it and weep. Read it and rejoice. Believe it and live.

–Lance Ward, Pastor of Congregational Care