Today I’ll be sharing one of my favorite quotes.
If you’re not a Lord of the Rings fan, let me fill you in on the story so far.
There’s a character in the story named Sam. Sam’s best friend has been called to go on a mission to save the world. Sam, unwilling to leave his friend to face the journey alone, risks everything to go with him. But what started off as a grand adventure has gone tragically wrong. Their leader and guide is destroyed before their very eyes.
And before the first book even ends, Sam and his pals are left heartbroken and alone; lost and directionless.
I guess that’s how the disciples must have felt. When they were first called to abandon their fishing nets it all must have all seemed like such a grand adventure; it must have been exciting to pursue a new kingdom for Israel.
But on that final Friday it must have all felt like the story was going horribly wrong.
We know better though. And so did Tolkein.
Gandalf, the leader who Sam watched die before his eyes, suddenly reappears in the moment when he is needed most. Tolkein describes the encounter with heavenly minded words:
But Sam lay back, and started with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last has gasped: ‘Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?’
‘A great shadow has departed,’ said Gandalf, and then he laughed and the sound was like music, or water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then as sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from his bed.
‘How do I feel?’ he cried. ‘Well I don’t know how to say it. I feel, I feel’ – he waved his arms in the air – ‘I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!’
I can see Sam in that moment; I imagine him choking back hope, terrified to believe in this thing too good to be true.
I can see the disciples in that moment too; I imagine them gathered in that upper room, terrified and devastated and then suddenly Jesus stood among them.
And I can’t wait for my turn. I can’t wait till I get to see Him in the flesh, alive and well.
I, like Sam, will find my tears ceasing and my laughter welling up and I will spring up waving my arms in the air. Like Sam I’ll proclaim: ‘I feel like Spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!’
Everything sad will come untrue.