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Pastor Glenn McDonald: Worth Fighting For


Let’s face it: Sean Astin is never going to live down Rudy.

 

The 53-year-old actor is best known for playing the lead role in the 1993 film about Daniel Reuttiger, a real-life walk-on to the Notre Dame football team. 

 

He even lampooned himself in a commercial in which former NFL stars just can’t help themselves: the only way they know how to relate to him is by chanting,“Ru-dy! Ru-dy!” 

 

He’s also known as “the guy with four fathers.” They include Michael Tell (his biological father, with actress Patty Duke), John Astin (his adoptive father, who married Duke), Desi Arnaz Jr. (with whom Duke had had a relationship) and Michael Pearce (whom Duke married when Sean was 15). "I can call any of them on the phone any time I want to. John, Desi, Mike, or Papa Mike ... my four dads.’’

 

That’s almost as convoluted as the storyline in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which Astin plays Samwise Gamgee the hobbit in the 2001-2003 films directed by Peter Jackson.

 

Sam’s call is to accompany his hobbit friend Frodo, who is charged with carrying the Ring of Power to its demise in a churning volcano.

 

Along the way they endure incredible suffering. It seems certain they will perish in the attempt to do what is right.

 

In The Two Towers, the second of the three films, Frodo has reached the end of his endurance: “I can’t do this, Sam.”

 

Sam responds with the most moving statement in the entire Lord of the Rings saga:

 

“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are.

 

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. 

 

“Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? 

 

“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.

 

“But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

 

Frodo asks, “What are we holding onto, Sam?”

 

Sam responds, “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”

 

Check out the stirring way Jackson staged this conversation in the film.  

 

Apart from a Story that gives meaning to our existence, our present circumstances can seem unbearable.

 

Scripture tells a Story – the greatest of all the great stories, as Sam might put it – in which the darkness will pass. It will be only a passing thing. A shadow. And a new day will come.

 

Here’s how the Story ends: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth… And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’” (Revelation 21:1,3,4).

 

Between now and the finale of God’s incredible Story, what are we supposed to be doing?

 

Our call is to hold on, even when we have chances to turn back.

 

Because there’s some good in this world. 

 

And it’s worth fighting for.

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