Sunday, January 22, 2012

Do What You Can

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

It has been a long journey. The Fellowship that started out with nine members has lost one, then four more, and after several reunions and splits and more reunions, it is back up to six. Battles have been fought at Helm's Deep and the Pelennor Fields in front of the walled city of Gondor, and after the latest battle there is finally a moment of respite, a chance for Aragorn to gather his captains and advisors and plan their next move.

Gandalf is the main speaker at this meeting. He tells those assembled that their ultimate fate depends on what happens to the Ring: if Sauron gets it, there will be nothing anyone can do to stop him, but if it is destroyed, there is nothing Sauron can do to prevent his inevitable destruction. The ring is out of their hands, he tells them, but fortunately Sauron does not know that for certain, and the best thing they can do is to keep him occupied fighting several strong leaders, any one of whom might have the ring, so that Frodo has a better chance of sneaking into Mordor unnoticed. He says:

"Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule."

They can't ultimately control the fate of the ring, Gandalf tells them, but they can do everything in their power to give Frodo the best chance to destroy it and leave the world a better place for future generations.

We can't control the future, either, but we can do our best each day to make good choices that will advance the forces of good and drive back the forces of evil. Micah had the right idea several thousand years ago: acting justly, being kind, and walking humbly with God each day is a good start towards changing the world. I resolve to try my best each day to act in accordance with these three simple guidelines. If we all would do that, we would be well on the way to making the world a better place now, and leaving it better for those who come after us.

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