Jay found a good deal on Amazon—the Lord of the Rings Extended Version on Blu Ray, with more additional viewing hours than what we’re ever going to watch—for $48. So, as we sat down to watch the second DVD, Jay first put in The Return of the King and immediately said, “That’s the wrong one, isn’t it?” “Yeah,” I responded, “in trilogies the middle one is always the dark one.” That’s the nature of trilogies.
That’s the nature of how time and space are set up, so there’s no wonder it’s paralleled in story. Now, if time and space were a trilogy, I suppose the first book would cover creation to the resurrection. The last could be called the same as Tolkien’s—The Return of the King. I guess that leaves the here and now in the middle.
Yes, in our great epic stories, the middle book is the darkest. It’s the one where the evil Darth Vader type strikes back and often wins. It’s where the forces for good struggle against insurmountable odds. It’s where all but a sliver of hope is lost—
A sliver of hope—sometimes, it’s hard to see hope. All seems lost when Gandalf falls to the bulrog in Moria’s mines to be tested and made anew. There’s little hope while Aragon and Gandolf are fighting on the other side of the world when all rests in the hands of the smallest and most innocent—and only a sliver of hope when Aragorn responds to the discouraged lad, “There is always hope.” It’s when all that can be seen is the powerful red eye of destruction, yet while forces unexpected and more powerful move in silence. It’s looking at death and realizing that after all, it is only death—a translation to life everlasting.
And that is hope—to know that at the end of it all, regardless of the pain endured in this life, there is life eternal in the bosom of Jesus. Rest in that Hope today.