I’ve turned my family into Tolkien nerds. I started working on my boys a few years ago when I first read the Hobbit to them. We then moved on to watching all the LOTR movies, and finally we read the LOTR books. This year took an unexpected turn though when my wife and daughter started getting into the movies. That was a complete shocker. It’s been a fun year, but needless to say, all five of us are going to see the next Hobbit movie in about 3 hours. It’s release date has been circled on the family calendar for about 2 months. Today is an official Rudolph family holiday. Now we aren’t the weird Lord of the Rings fans. They do exist. We are definitely not dressing up like hobbits when we go to the movies, and we haven’t named our dog, Frodo. I don’t have all those complex LOTR board games (cough, cough Billy Gibson), and I haven’t read the Silmarillion 6x (clearing my throat Tim Keith) . I would consider our family normal fans of JRR Tolkien’s work.
It all comes down to the quality of the story. The story is fun, captivating, and littered with a host of spiritual analogies that I can use to get my children’s minds to churn more; at least more than watching the latest episode of Duck Dynasty.
Stories do that don’t they? They grab ahold of our soul. They captivate our imagination and say to us, “This is the kind of story I want to be a part of.” If you read GK Chesterton’s book, “Orthodoxy”, in his chapter entitled, “The Ethics of Elfland”, Chesterton explains the value of fairy tales, and that fiction, especially quality fiction, can actually help us see our real world in greater dimensions.
I’m reminded this morning, as my kids anticipate seeing the next chapter in the Hobbit story, that we all want to see the real story come to life. When we immerse ourselves in the grand story of God in Scripture, we see the real story. When we are fascinated by the struggle of not just good over evil, but God over evil, and of God’s grand story of redemption and restoration, then we want to see it. God leads us to a place and shows us how we can be a part of the real story in history. That we can be a part of the redemption story with Jesus as the hero is extremely exciting.
This is why I want to be a part of a church. I want following Jesus to be about seeing the story of God played out in and around me. God’s story is far greater than a 2 1/2 hour epic on the big screen. We are talking about eternity here.
I hope we can teach our children to love the story of Jesus far more than any other story. I hope we are excited to see the story of God come to life in our community as we seek to spread the fame and glory of Jesus to our friends and neighbors. I hope this morning that the anticipation of seeing words come to life in front of me are a mere shadow of the inspired Word coming to life in me.
So what story grips your heart?