The movie, “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” has revived
interest in Tolkein’s fantasy. It also has people talking about truths the book
addresses. Much discussion centers on the ring itself. The ring is the most
powerful of several rings that are abroad in this fantasy world. It can make
the wearer invisible. It also seduces those who wear it.
By strange circumstances, the ring comes into the possession of Bilbo Baggins,
a noble, peace-loving creature called a Hobbit. He took it from a nasty beastly
creature named Gollum. At the beginning of the book and movie, Bilbo is urged
by his old friend Gandalf to give up the ring. Even though the ring is evil, by
and large, it seems, Bilbo is uncorrupted. Yet, when told to give it up he
resists and gets angry.
It finally comes to Bilbo that he is becoming more and more like the loathsome
Gollum, even beginning to talk like him. The ring has come to affect him after
all. To his surprise, he learns that the evil Gollum was once a creature very
much like himself. With some reluctance he surrenders the ring. So it is with
all temptation. The longer we flirt with it and harbor it, the more it begins
to corrupt us.
Illustration by J. Michael Shannon, Professor of Preaching, Cincinnati Bible
College & Seminary, Cincinnati, OH.