In the whirlwind of apologetic debate this past week, I’ve found this quote dancing often about in my brain:
“It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels, the world is all gone strange… how shall a man judge what to do in such times?” said Eomer.
“As he ever has judged,” said Aragorn. “Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.” (J.R.R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)
Funny how the really good old stories haunt your contemplations. The world does seem strange to me of late. As I seek a better knowledge of my own beloved Truth, I am cast up day after day upon the shores of other strange beliefs. I get up each time to sail to better lands and yet, the strangeness of the daily struggle after a faith to match reality comes strongly to me. Day after day of late I have strung out every truth I held for minute inspection, compared my beliefs to the rest of the world and striven to perceive the fiber of my faith. And while there is surely exultation in the task, there is also a sudden fear, a sense of my inner thoughts being mercilessly unravelled for examination. There is no doubt in me, but there is certainly a sense of unboundedness in this ocean of speculation; perhaps a bit of bewilderment at the time in which I live. What sort of world is it to which I’ve been born?
But into this march Aragorn’s sturdy words. And they remind me that goodness is discernable, truth choosable. Tis a good man’s (woman’s) part to judge twixt good and ill (or Truth and moral relativity), in Middle Earth, in the Golden Wood, in my Colorado home. Goodness does not change, evil is ever the same and the soul whose love is truth can discern and choose the way that leads to life. Not that I ever doubted it, but in this modern/postmodernist jumble of belief, it is easy to feel that reality has lost its grounding. In the midst of endless speculation (even about other worldviews) it is good to hear a word of surety, to be certain of the unchanging clarity of Truth and our ability to choose it. Aragorn had traversed years and miles and in his living had found the touchable goodness of a changless truth. By grace, I find that I have grasped it too. And it’s mightily good to remember how sure a thing it is.
So to thee Lord Aragorn, I give my humble thanks.