Categories
Lectionary

18 January 2020 (Christopher Tolkien: et lux perpetua libera nos)

14

The problem of legacy and inheritance is very human. We lost one of the faithful sons this week: the last of the Tolkiens has died, and with it the approved publications of the history of middle earth.

J.R.R. Tolkien needed an editor, and his scholarly son performed that duty throughout his long life.

Christopher Tolkien, the last living son of JRR Tolkien has made his way for the Grey Havens. We are lucky to have had such a person who gathered, organised, and published The Silmarillion, among scores of others. Without his life-long dedication of bringing to the world his father’s creations, we would be certainly poorer indeed.

I am lucky to have listened to him at various Society events over the years. The love for his father and his father’s stories shone through. While ninety and five years is much too short a time to be among us, he left an indelible mark and should earn the much celebrated toast given to his father–for Christopher Tolkien’s contributions are how we can continue scholarship on the works of his beloved father.

I noted that this morning, then went for a walk, planning to return to the text later. And what a text. Elisha’s family had enough land and resources to get 12 oxen to pull the plow. And he left them because Elijah called.

God did not call him because of the virtue of Shaphat, his father.

1 Kings 19:19-21

19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” 21 And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.

Elisha chose God and poverty over family resources. He was not content with status. He fed the servants of the family — and became a servant of the prophet. In this world, that is irrational. But God rewards us not because we preserve status and politeness, but because we seek him.

When Elisha had the mantle of Elijah upon him he was given a greater inheritance. Let us seek that. Regardless of how Godly or Sinful, Broken or Strong, our families are.

The last Inkling is dead, and the time when the main culture was overtly Christian is gone in the West. This was by design: our elite is feckless and has fallen into the spirit of destruction and despair. Like Milton’s Satan, they would rather reign in hell.

But we shall preserve the word of God, and feed the people truth, show them beauty, and at times ensure they have shelter and calories. This elite will not. Do not be like them.