If you know much about me then you know that I am unabashedly a Lord of the Rings nerd. An obnoxious geekiness overcomes me when I talk or think or read or watch any LOTR related things. I have shamelessly subjected three members of my family to countless marathons (the fourth watches willingly, God bless her) of the fourteen-hour, extended Blu-ray edition of the trilogy. In fact, as I type this, “The Bridge of Khazad Dum” from the LOTR soundtrack is playing in my ears. No shame y’all!
Over time, one of my favorite characters has become Eowyn of Rohan. She is a noblewoman of Rohan described by her husband, Faramir, as both “so lovely and so sorrowful”, and indeed she is. Though she is a work of fiction, I have found particularly inspiring an exchange between her and Aragorn featured in the movie The Two Towers that has in a way shaped the way I think about myself and my goals in life.
Aragorn: You have some skill with a blade.
Eowyn: The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.
Aragorn: What do you fear, my lady?
Eowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.
Aragorn: You are a daughter of kings, a shield maiden of Rohan. I do not think that will be your fate.
This dialogue has become for me a way of thinking about how I go about the study of the Word of God. Ephesians 6:13, 17 says that we are “take up the full armor of God” and to, “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” That indicates to me that I am to become, as Eowyn has, well skilled in handling the sword that is the word of God. This means that I cannot rest in ignorance or as a coquette. I cannot and should not depend solely on others to wield the sword for me, but rather I am to, by the grace of the King, take up the sword and become skilled in using it in battle.
Those who know me know that I believe firmly that all of a Christian’s life is battle. We are fighting daily, hourly, minute-by-minute against our own sin and an enemy who desires to utterly destroy us. And though we are filled through and through with peace knowing that the battle has been won and we stand in the light of Jesus Christ the victor, we fight on still knowing that we will be attacked by a dying enemy until our bodies expire or we see the return of the King.
It is for this reason that I have to come to understand a very particular task to which the Lord has called me: teaching my high school girls to wield the sword. I have become aware these last two years that though they sit under excellent and faithful pastoral teaching they are beginning to understand that there is more to studying the Bible than Sundays and surface reading. I have been asked more times than I remember “I read my Bible, but how do I study my Bible? How do I dig deeper?” In the same way that picking up an actual sword is not something that comes naturally or easily, neither is wielding the sword of the Spirit. So this summer I am eagerly looking forward to teaching my girls how to go about wielding the sword as we walk through John 18.
This is not a task that, in light of James 3:1, I take lightly and so I am anxious as I prepare to teach. I ask that if you have taken the time to bear with my nerdy post and made it this far that you would also pray with me. I desire so much that these young ladies, these future wives, mothers, teachers, missionaries, my sisters, would benefit from my teaching and that over these eleven weeks they would come to know more fully the grace and goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that they would begin to know for themselves how they are to take up the sword of the Spirit.