This day we fight

I had become fascinated by fighting. This curiosity surfaced nearly two years ago when I realized every movie I was interested in had fighting as its backdrop. I noticed I was drawn to action films, where characters displayed courage, fought for freedom, and stood their ground in honor of the right thing. They didn’t back down, despite having all odds against them.

My favorite movies of all time are the three films in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I distinctly remember Keith trying to get me to watch them, but for a long time, I had zero interest. I thought they’d be some boring fantasy movie with a poorly patched together story. I’d have to ask Keith what finally made me watch the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring, because when I did, I was spellbound.

It’s an excellent story. It’s also a graphic feast. Beautiful. Captivating. Epic. Not only was it a profound, substantive story with alluring art, it was a complete spiritual experience. I remember where I was sitting in our den, watching the film, when I realized I saw the Bible being portrayed right in front of my eyes. His name wasn’t Moses or David, but Frodo. The lands weren’t Jerusalem and Babylon, but Hobbiton and Mordor.

LOTR author J.R.R. Tolkien was a devout Catholic, but has said he did not intend for his stories to be a Christian allegory. He didn’t have to. God is a creative God. He shows up in what’s good and true and right, and He showed up for me to see clearly as I sat transfixed on the characters, places, and themes.

The LOTR was a bridge for me into enjoying more action films, particularly those with epic battles of good versus evil. Isn’t that the plot of every good story? The dispute between the cowboy with the white hat and his enemy donning the black version. The clash between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. The skirmish between the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. The struggle between accepting God’s grace and living guilty in our own sin.

The concept of fighting, physical, spiritual, and emotional, continued to make me more curious about its applications to life. I began thinking about and collecting some of my favorite fighting quotes as I watched these films. During the final installment of the LOTR’s The Return of the King, I garnered an all-time favorite.

One of the heroes of the stories, Aragon, is speaking to his army. They have marched into enemy territory, and against all odds, are fighting for what is right. In his speech before the ultimate throwdown, Aragon tells his soldiers,

"Hold your ground! Hold your ground. Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see it in your eyes...the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Men fails...when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of Men comes crashing down. But it is not this day. This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!"

I know it’s a long quote, but I can’t seem to cut it any more. It’s encouraging words to hold your ground, to stand and to fight mean more to me that I can fully translate here.

Because I am a student of the Bible, I searched the Scriptures for fighting words, and I and came to a passage that had struck me before. It centers on opposition faced by the Jews when they were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah. It reads,

“Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14

The chapter goes on to say the workers were continually taunted as they sought to restore the wall. Their response was to be ready to fight.

"...each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon in the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built.” Nehemiah 4:17, 18

The more I pondered the Scriptural permission to fight for my home, my family, and my life, the more questions I had. As I take this journey to fight - for faith, truth, hope, and wholeness - I humbly ask you to join me. Maybe we can answer some questions together.