I just started reading Rick Richardson’s book, Reimagining Evangelism. I’m only in the opening chapter, but I like the direction he’s going and I’m looking forward to working my way through the book.
In the opening chapter, he discusses scenes from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy that give insight into personal evangelism. One scene that he uses from The Two Towers is probably the most moving and encouraging scene from all three movies. I can’t watch it without tears welling up. Richardson has done a great job capturing the scene and dialogue, so I’ll just let him tell it:
“Sam has just saved Frodo from being carried away by an enemy and has pulled Frodo back from the brink of being swallowed up by his addiction to the Ring of Power. And Frodo resents it, is furious. The Ring has gained increasing power over Frodo’s will. He is at a very dark moment in his spiritual journey, and he does something that is terrible. Drawing a knife on his most faithful friend, he comes close to stabbing him for his interference. If you have ever confronted a friend or family member who is being swallowed up by an addiction, you will have some idea of the scene.
Sam, this little hobbit, very simple and down to earth and not often good with words, shines very brightly at this moment in the art of spiritual guidance.
SAM: It’s me. It’s your Sam. Don’t you know your Sam?
[Frodo puts the knife away and falls back.]
FRODO: I can’t do this, Sam.
SAM: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights, we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really matter. 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 because so much bad 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.
FRODO: What are we holding on to, Sam?
[Sam takes Frodo, helps him to his feet, looks into his eyes and speaks with quiet conviction.]
SAM: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”
Dang! I’m tearing up again. I love this scene! When I’m tired, depressed, frustrated or frightened, it helps me recover my place in the story. It reminds me that my life is about something bigger, something grander than myself. I belong to Christ. I’m being renewed back into his image so that I can adequately shoulder my responsibility on this planet as one of God’s image-bearers. And somehow through my small life, I can bring about some good that will contribute to God rebuilding his world.