When Frodo and Sam left the safety of The Shire, their perilous mission was to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mt. Doom located in the dark and deadly land of Mordor. Throughout their journey they battled sinister and terrifying enemies…and suffered the loss of several close friends along the way. But their resolve eventually brought them to Mt. Doom, and after a climactic fight with the treacherous Gollum, the ring was finally swallowed up by the heaving volcano. Middle Earth was safe…but the two tiny heroes weren’t!
The two small Hobbits raced down the mountain trying to outrun the lava spewing forth from the volcano as it collapsed. When they could go no farther, they fell to the harsh landscape in sheer exhaustion. Fortunately, massive eagles sent by Gandalf the White arrived just in the nick of time to ferry the two Halflings to safety.
In the closing pages of The Lord of the Ring: The Return of the King, J. R. R. Tolkien describes the moment Sam regains consciousness and realizes that victory has been accomplished:
Full memory flooded back, and Sam cried aloud: “It wasn’t a dream! Then where are we?”
And a voice spoke softly behind: “In the land of Ithilien, and in the keeping of the King; and he awaits you.” With that Gandalf stood before him, robed in white, his beard now gleaming like pure snow in the twinkling of the leafy sunlight. “Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?” he said.
But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”
“A great Shadow has departed,’ said Gandalf, and then he laughed and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known.
That’s a simple, but beautiful, way of describing Heaven. It’s the place where everything sad and evil will come to an end. The apostle John describes it like this in Revelation 21:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
The Lord of the Ring: The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien. 1955, George Allen & Unwin, Pages _______
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)