Sometime last July or so I came across this quote while listening to The Return of the King in the car. I thought, "I should blog about that." So there I was listening to The Return of the King in the car earlier this week when I heard it and thought it again. This time it gets out. The setting is the Houses of Healing in Gondor after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The Hobbit Merry Brandybuck was injured in the battle and overcome with "the black breath," an evil despair. He was found and brought in where he has been healed by the returning King, Aragorn. Now he is speaking with his friend, Pippin, about the King and others.
"Pippin remained behind. 'Was there ever anyone like him?' he said. 'Except Gandalf, of course. I think they must be related. ... And then let's be easy for a bit. Dear me! We Tooks and Brandybucks, we can't live long on the heights.'
'No,' said Merry. 'I can't. Not yet, at any rate. But at least, Pippin, we can now see them, and honour them. It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of the Shire is deep. Still there are things deeper and higher; and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not. I am glad I know about them, a little. But I don't know why I am talking like this. Where is that leaf? And get my pipe out of my pack if it isn't broken.'"
I'm moved by Merry's gladness that he's come to recognize things deeper and higher than the life he had known before the adventure of the ring, but even more by his words. "It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots." They resonate so strongly with the idea that God first reveals himself to us in small things like family, friendship, and home, before calling us on to the deeper and higher loves. A recurring theme in the novels of Charles Williams is how the ways that we have lived our lives prepare us for the meeting with God leading either to acceptance or rejection. Those who have become used to love and service through their prior relationships and opportunities are able to respond and accept what is being offered. Those who have rejected love and service in their families and friendships reject it as well from God. "He who is faithful in little will be entrusted with much." If we don't love and serve our neighbors whom we can see, how can we think we will love God whom we cannot?
In other news, I had a fun trip home for Thanksgiving. I really enjoyed my time with Mom and Dad, Ann and Daniel, Jenn and Jamie, Aunt Margaret and the family down south, and others. It was a good time and a good trip, even if I didn't get to see the Chattanoogies or if it did take 10 hrs to get home. Work, youth group and LIFEgroup are all going well and are enjoyable.
Here is a link to an interesting article on the Christianity Today website on the absence of God.
Verse of the day:
"Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple." Psalm 65:4 (ESV)
Psalm 65 was my psalm for today. I've read it before, many times, even once, at least, this year. Somehow I never noticed it before. It sings of God's atonement, His greatness, His grace, how He is the hope of the nations, and is the creator and the joy of creation. It's a beautiful Psalm.
"A lot of people cut their theology around a God who gives but not a God who takes away." Robert Yarbrough