In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins quotes what has become one of my favorite Holy Week poems. Of course, in the context of the Hobbit’s recitation, this poem is about the return of the King of Gondor, who serves as one of several poignant Christ-figures in the trilogy. Yet so strong is the Christ-imagery that I cannot help but read these lines in light of the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
On Friday it seemed all hope was lost. On Sunday hope will dawn. This is Saturday’s poem. Tragedy has fallen. Hope glimmers on the horizon. But in the cold, dark grave of the in-between, Bilbo’s poem is uttered in mournful faith:
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
This Holy Week, of all weeks, reminds us that we are loved, more than we know!