Why the Halfling?
“I do not know,” Gandalf answers. “Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that it is not what I’ve found. I’ve found it is the small things, every act of normal folk that keeps the darkness of at bay — simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”
I found the Hobbit to be a perfect movie to debut this weekend considering the events of our nation on Friday. We can look at the world; and say that darkness is too big for us to tackle when we come face to face with such “senseless hate,” as Dorrie details perfectly in her new blog. Click here to read.
Or more likely, we can become frustrated by personal grievances in our life; by abuses of power, or watching damaging romantic relationships among our friends, or ineffectual churches …and pull out of community and focus only on ourselves. In Bilbo’s case, his garden, and groceries and books in the Shire. It’s much easier to tend to your agenda, because your plans and your world won’t crumble so easily.
Then I remember, that God delights in partnering with little us. I guess, because we are frail, because of our hope, because of our faith, because of our courage in a similar way that Gandalf chose Bilbo. We are the small little hobbits that a special Man trusted to say,
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these.”
He loves having us along for the ride if we have a faith as small as a halfling. He waits for us to muster the courage and the umph to forsake the budget and give generously, to spend the extra time to listen to whoever needs a listening ear or to forgive the people who wrong us.
And when we stand on a corner and ring the Salvation Army Bell while singing Christmas Carols of “God and Sinners Reconciled” or when we listen to the boy with special needs in a social gathering or when we take the time to honor each other in the smallest ways, I feel God’s heart pound like mine when I watched the Hobbit on Sunday.
So, when I watched Bilbo run up to the main villian of the film, the Orc Azog, and stand even when Gandalf is stuck in a burning tree, and I watched him fight with his little sword the Dwarves mocked earlier was just a “letter opener,” I feel a god-like pride well up in my heart.
This is the gospel: It’s the Messiah showing up on the scene as a Jewish unattractive carpenter, instead of the strong political leader who would free the Jewish people from Rome. It’s God of the universe being placed in a food troth. It’s Christ redeeming the broken and the forgotten by dying on a tree. as Andy Stanley so poignantly described on the Bert Show this morning. Click here to listen
It’s the small beginnings, the simple acts of faith, the small details. And as we stand with our baby-sword up in the air to the worst of greed and hate, Christ smiles at us too:)