A Battle to the Death


“You will be the fellowship of the ring.” Lord Elrond commissions the nine on their journey to destroy the ‘one ring’. I love the scene set in Rivendel where the leaders, adventurers, travellers of the lands are caught up in heated, fear-filled, discussion about who should take the ring to Mordor and how, and little Frodo simply says, “I will take it.” A hush falls and he somewhat bashfully admits “though I do not know the way”. Various representatives then step up to guide, protect and accompany Frodo on his quest.

There begins this epic journey, made up of a myriad of journeys but with one theme running through them all: what does it mean to face and do battle with the part that longs to be the centre of the universe, that longs for power, pleasure, success and comfort? The narrative is consistently that through the death of that part, life in all its fullness emerges in a plethora of forms and guises. It’s Lady Galadriel who says beautifully “even the smallest person can change the course of history.” For every battle fought physically on the journey, it was first won or lost in each players heart. As each member fights this battle in their own lives and choices, the fellowship strengthens until the final stand when Aragorn’s words from beginning become the heart cry of each one “if by my life or my death I can protect you”. Individually and now as a matured fellowship they serve a purpose and a narrative far greater than themselves; it was never about size or prowess but the courage to die to self, to keep hope alive and to ‘decide (for honour and truth) what to do with the time given’ to them… and even the smallest of us can do that.

I wonder if each one of us in on an epic journey to die to self, God has given us himself and a ‘fellowship’ to keep us company and protect us on our quest. And in turn we are the ‘fellowship’ for others, to keep them company and watch their backs. As we keep going, with nearly every step Hope rises and Life comes, reminding us of our purpose. None of us can do this without God’s Spirit, but the battle to the death of self for the sake of a cause far greater than us, is a hard one and requires a commitment to keep choosing what to do with the time given to us.

So, as I get ready to take on another week, I take fresh courage and renew my commitment to fight my battle to the death of self for the sake of my Lord, my King, my Father and my God, and then I pray, ‘Holy Spirit, Help me to do this all in your strength and not my own.’

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