Theme of the Week: The Redemptive Power of Godly Friendship
Bible Verse: “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 18:19-24
One of my favorite pieces of literature is the Lord of the Rings trilogy; J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale in which a friendship between two Hobbits succeeds in destroying the evil Ring of Power and liberating Middle Earth.
Strong friendships are seen everywhere in these books: Gandalf and Bilbo, Merry and Pippin, and Legolas and Aragorn among them. Yet a central feature of the entire epic is the extraordinary bond between Frodo and Sam. In the hands of a master like Tolkien, such otherworldly fantasy can speak volumes about this world’s reality, and from his Hobbits we learn rich, practical, and very human lessons about true friendship. Here, as the two Hobbits are leaving the Shire on their grim mission to destroy the ring, Frodo says:
“It is going to be very dangerous, Sam. It is already dangerous. Most likely neither of us will come back.” “If you don’t come back sir, then I shan’t, that’s certain,” said Sam. “‘Don’t you leave him!’ they said to me. ‘Leave him!’ I said. ‘I never mean to. I am going with him, if he climbs to the Moon, and if any of those Black Riders try to stop him, they’ll have Sam Gamgee to reckon with,’ I said.”1
Out of the boldness and depth of their friendship, Sam then accompanies Frodo on their grueling journey. Through two books of trials and dangers, Sam never wavers, continually bolstering Frodo in spirit. And at the end, as Frodo’s strength fails him, Sam literally carries Frodo on his back up the side of Mount Doom, where at last the ring can be destroyed, and Middle Earth redeemed.
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