The Church in The Hobbit: A Reflection by Bill


I have often struggled with finding an image that captures what the church is. I read “It’s a body” and “It’s a family” in Scripture, but they just don’t capture it all for me. There’s another…stubborn…element to the church that isn’t captured in any of these metaphors. There’s something humorous about the church that isn’t really mentioned Scripture.

Maybe that’s why The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey appealed to me. It’s the church!

Not the whole movie, true. The church doesn’t kill orcs or anything like that, but the church is very much like the band of dwarves that recruits Bilbo on their quest. How you may ask? Well…

• Like the dwarves, we too follow a king! The true King in fact. And this king, it seems, hasn’t come into his kingdom just yet either. And so we pray “Your Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer in our quest to further God’s Kingdom.
• Like the dwarves, we too have answered the call. The dwarves came because Thorin had summoned them. We come because our King has summoned us.
• Like the dwarves, there aren’t that many of us. One of my favorite parts in the Hobbit is when they mentioned this and Thorin says: “You have come because I called. And that is enough.” I think Jesus says that about us too…as he’s scolding us for looking at our small numbers as a “way out.”
• Like the dwarves(and Bilbo) we are faced with chances to show mercy, pity, and compassion. It is Bilbo’s mercy that ultimately saves Middle Earth.
• Like the dwarves, we are a colorful lot! Sometimes I wish we could show just how colorful we are to the world. I think they’d laugh! The world sees us as a hypocritical lot. Maybe if we showed a bit of our color to others, they’d see just what a grand group we truly are.
• Like the dwarves, we don’t know how to treat visitors and those new to our assembly. Thorin frowns on Bilbo’s inclusion in the company. So do many of the other dwarves. And, if we’re honest, we’ve had the same reaction too when “new people” have come to join our assembly. We can relate.
• Finally… like the dwarves… we are journeying to our home…a journey that at times seems hopeless, full of despair and grief and pain and suffering…but a journey that will take us home to a city covered in gold!

The Hobbit might not be an Academy Award winner…but it’s a winner in my book…for through its lens I’ve seen the marvels of Christ’s church and the people he’s planted around us.


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