and truth, effort or earning, works or faith, justice or mercy, these are the
conundrums of my life. I know that Jesus came into this world full of grace and
truth and ever since, we who follow his example have desired to be people of
grace and truth. I can never seem to find the right balance nor live in the
right place of tension between the two. The newspapers tell us that the elders
of Willow Creek Church in Illinois know all too well that one can easily extend
too much grace, demand too much truth, trust people too much, love people too
little, and fail miserably at justice for all. There is no doubt in my mind
that I would rather extend grace than mete out justice. I would rather love and
forgive than hate and punish, but there is a part of me that realizes that when
I forgive Sir John A. MacDonald for his part in “The Indian Act,” I am hurting
those who were hurt by the ethnic cleansing brought about by the Indian Act. Some
of my current friends are people whose culture and their very lives have been
damaged by the Indian Act. How do I seek justice for all? How does God extend
grace and justice to all? Could God ever forgive those who have hurt or killed huge
populations of people? If God forgave Hitler, could the Jews ever forgive God?
“the answers to these questions are more questions such as these.”[1]
Perhaps we need to give up our obsession with getting what we deserve and take
what we are given. Perhaps the answers are found in songs, poetry, stories, and
parables. J.R.R. Tolkien once interpreted the actions of one of his characters
in the following way.
“One tiny Hobbit against all the evil
the world could muster. A sane being would have given up, but Samwise burned
with a magnificent madness, a glowing obsession to surmount every obstacle, to
find Frodo, destroy the Ring, and cleanse Middle Earth of its festering
malignancy. He knew he would try again. Fail, perhaps. And try once more. A
thousand, thousand times if need be, but he would not give up the quest.” –
J.R.R. Tolkien
“Come, Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. ‘I can’t
carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on,
Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll
go” ― J.R.R. TolkienThe
Return of the King
Might all of us choose to be one tiny
Hobbit, one cog in the massive mechanisms of the universe? What difference
might we make by pursuing the one thing to which we are called? Do we desire to
be a Hobbit or a powerful Lord of the Eldar? Each has their place and their
work to be done. Can we be satisfied if God has made us the Hobbit type?
“Some believe it is only great power that
can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the
small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay by small
acts of kindness and love.” – J.R.R.
wish I had more answers and less questions. It seems that as I age, the
questions multiply but the answers only subtract. I am learning more, but as
I learn more, I find that I know less,
because I have found more questions to ask. The stories begin to answer the
questions. The parables hold the key, if only I could understand them better.
The poetry of life contains the entire universe. May Jesus lead us ever closer
to knowing him and his mission in the world.

[1] “Socrates”
song written by Mac McAnaly on the album Live
and Learn
, 1992.

Dive in!

Join The Great Journey with subscribers, and see new posts as they happen.

We promise we’ll never spam.