Monday, August 10, 2009

Recognizing Royalty

Well, it’s Monday. Happy?

For many of us Monday means battle, so Sunday evening means preparation and probably, dreading anticipation. Sometimes we weary before battle.

In a favorite scene of mine from the second of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, “The Two Towers,” Eowyn (Miranda Otto) anticipates a nearly hopeless and terrible battle with dark and ravenous forces converging upon them.

From a large trunk she draws a menacing sword and, grasping it with both hands and steeling her face, she begins to practice frightening blows to the yet invisible enemy. She is terrific and convincing.

Unknown to her, Aragon (Viggo Mortensen), who has from a distance recognized royalty and fortitude in Eowyn, has drawn up behind her. Continuing to slash and parry, Eowyn whirls about, bringing down her weapon in a full and powerful arc, only for it to be met by Aragon’s quickly drawn sword. Deflecting the blow brought by a suddenly startled Eowyn, their swords lock together.

And Aragon, frozen in battle stance along with Eowyn, says respectfully, “You’ve some skill with a blade.” Eowyn replies, “Women of this country learned long ago that those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.” And as she returns the sword to the chest, Aragon asks, “What do you fear, my lady?” “A cage,” says Eowyn. “To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them, and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.”

Sizing her up, Aragon says, “You’re a daughter of kings. . .I do not think that will be your fate.” Eowyn looks knowingly and appreciatively into his eyes, royalty recognizing royalty.

Aragon was right.

You, too, are the offspring of a King. My prayer and hope for you is that the Spirit will revive your hope for godly valor and strengthen you as you offer yourself to Him today. He knows who you are. Recognizing royalty, He will convince you about you. Perhaps you need a little of that right now. And if you’ve grown accustomed to worldly limitations and unseen bars on a cage, they’re not true and cannot stand against you.

Believe Him. That’s where your strength and life begins – by believing God about Himself and by believing God about you. Because your battle is primarily spiritual and unseen, look there. It is the most valuable and important arena of your life.

Thomas Merton wrote: “I consider that the spiritual life is the life of a man’s real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern. The spiritual life is oriented toward God, rather than toward the immediate satisfaction of the material needs of life, but it is not, for all that, a life of unreality or a life of dreams. On the contrary, without a life of the Spirit, our whole existence becomes unsubstantial and illusory. The life of the Spirit, by integrating us in the real order established by God, puts us in the fullest possible contact with reality – not as we imagine it, but as it really is. It does so by making us aware of our own real selves, and placing them in the presence of God.” (From “No Man Is An Island.”)

When the unseen enemy whispers his deceptive drivel about your skills and future, tell him confidently that you know you’re royalty, whether he likes it or not. And you might add, “I know I am better off than you would have me think. I do not think that will be my fate.”

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