When I began re-reading The Hobbit for the purpose of blogging as I go, I had not noticed how appropriate that would be for this time of year. It is yet another lucky coincidence, like those that happen to Bilbo throughout the novel, that for the next six weeks or so my posts about Bilbo's journey to the Lonely Mountain and back again will correspond to the Christian journey known as Lent.
Lent is a time to reflect on the life of Jesus and on his ultimate sacrifice for the good of all people. During these forty days, many people make personal sacrifices and go on a spiritual journey of penitence, reflection, and reconciliation whose end is the joyous celebration of Easter, when Christ conquered death and made eternal life possible for all.
Bilbo and the dwarves experience many instances of hardship, peril, and sacrifice on their way to their destination, and some even lose their lives. In the end, however, the quest is successful and Bilbo journey ends with his return to the Shire with a load of treasure and a life forever changed by his adventure.
May it be the same for all of us who undertake the Lenten Journey, that we will emerge on Easter Sunday reborn and enriched with new spiritual insights!