This is a devotion more fitting for yesterday (March 25th), but I did not happen to see it until this morning.
A comment by a fellow pastor: “Tolkien and Lewis…two literary geniuses who wove Christian imagery into such epic literature.
Perhaps this virus is a small “eucatastrophe,” and we will see the good it brings when we look back at it rather than from within it.”
And a final quote from this beautifully-written piece:
“May we—who still walk in the shadows (although illumined by the Morning Star), who still inhabit the middle chapters of the story (although aware of how it ends), who still live in the grey liminality between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday (although already seated with the Risen One in heaven)—may we hope in the gospel truth that the “happy ending” is not a fairy tale illusion, but a blood-bought reality.”
God bless your day!
Today is March 25th, an important day for a number of reasons. In much of Christian tradition, March 25th was not only the day of Christ’s conception, but also the day of the His Crucifixion. Also, this is the day that—in JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth—Sauron is finally overthrown and the ringbearer and his companion who have suffered so much are “brought out of the fire to the King” (Return of the King, Ballantine, 1965, p. 283). Now, why would I join a reference from a fantasy novel together with the most sacred realities in the cosmos? A one word answer is “Eucatastrophe.”
“Eucatastrophe” is word coined by Tolkien and it basically means the “good catastrophe.” The idea here is that, at the darkest moment, when all seems lost, when death and sorrow seem to have claimed total victory—at that very moment—a “turn” comes, an in-breaking of the good beyond all hope. The Eucatastrophe is an un-looked for and unexpected reversal that reveals joy (not sorrow), light (not darkness), beauty (not ugliness), peace (not torment), and glory (not suffering) to be the TRUTH. In fact, so complete is the beauty of the eucatastrophic moment that it gathers up all the darkness and sorrow that came before it and weaves them into its own pattern, making sorrow a servant of joy, and past suffering the pigment by which final glory is painted. (If you wonder how this can be, just consider how the supreme eucatastrophe of the resurrection has woven the crucifixion—in which is contained all darkness—inseparably into the pattern of it’s own joy)
Tolkien placed the downfall of Sauron on the same day as Christ’s conception and crucifixion because he wanted the central eucatastrophe of his secondary universe to harmonize with the central eucatastrophe of the primary universe….
The entrance of God into time and space in Jesus Christ is the eucatastrophe of human history, and the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ (which cannot ultimately be divided but must be held together such that to speak of His crucifixion is to speak of it as illumined by His resurrection, and to speak of His resurrection is to speak of the resurrection of the crucified one)—the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Christ’s own story and so the climactic eucatastrophe in which all others (including His conception) are grounded.
With the resurrection of the crucified Jesus (and, in a secondary and far lesser way, with the overthrow of Sauron and the hobbits’ return out of fire to the King) we see not merely a true event within reality, but the Truth beneath all reality. Since all things are from and for the slain and risen Jesus and will be conformed to Him (Colossians 1:15-20, Ephesians 1:10), when we see Him, we see the “true shape” of things. Sorrow turned to joy, death turned to life, darkness turned to light, suffering turned to glory, and weeping turned to laughter; the Eucatastrophe of the Passion of the Christ declares to us—by the flesh and blood of our God—that THIS is the true nature of history and the cosmos.
May we—who still walk in the shadows (although illumined by the Morning Star), who still inhabit the middle chapters of the story (although aware of how it ends), who still live in the grey liminality between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday (although already seated with the Risen One in heaven)—may we hope in the gospel truth that the “happy ending” is not a fairy tale illusion, but a blood-bought reality.
Credit: Full of Eyes, on Facebook.