Friday, May 15, 2015

Meeting Jesus, or Aragorn, or Viggo Mortensen on the Beach

I recently participated in a spiritual formation event where the leader invited participants to close their eyes and through guided imagery imagine meeting Jesus on a beach. I guess I should not have been surprised that the Jesus I encountered resembled the fictional character Aragorn as portrayed by Viggo Mortensen in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. After all, I had watched all three films over a four of five night period just a week or two before and images from the films were probably still freshly imprinted on my subconscious. While the character Gandalf is often interpreted as the Christ figure in Tolkien’s epic tale, it is Aragorn who is the king, the king who at first appears as a recluse ranger, often serves others rather than seeking to be served, defies death and even appears to be eresurrected, and ultimately receives the crown that acknowledges his kingship.

I first read Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was in high school. Once I started reading them I could not put them down. Eventually, one evening as I was reading, I realized that parts of the Lord of the Rings reminded me of parts of Scripture, especially the Jewish Scriptures or Christian Old Testament. It was then that I gained a new appreciation of Scripture, viewing it not as some dry, boring, religious text from the ancient past but as a spiritual story filled with epic adventure, ancient archetypal myth, conflict, love, betrayal, and struggle. It is no wonder then that decades later, when I imagined meeting Jesus on the beach, Jesus looked an awful lot like the character Aragorn portrayed by Viggo Mortensen.

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