Matter Matters: Sacramentality of "The Return of the King"
I saw "Return of the King" last night and, despite its flaws, it is by far the best film of the trilogy and is quite simply one of the best films I have ever seen. I could gush on and on, but I will leave the clever use of adjectives to the professional film reviewers. (They have said it all anyway!)
Although I could spend a week blogging about the various elements of the film, there is one thing in particular that struck me. One of the things that I most appreciated about the film was how director Peter Jackson truly captured and emphasized Tolkien's sacramental vision and made it a central theme of the films. In Middle Earth, matter matters. A lot.
Who will think lightly of his wedding ring and say it is nothing? Who will take a kiss lightly? It is only a physical pledge of something deeper, more mysterious, and more substantial, namely, love. But in that small physical act the great mystery is somehow bespoken.
These things, which are true, must somehow be focused and brought to a point in a symbol for us mortals. We cannot live with abstractions. We cannot nourish ourselves on generalities.
The religion that attempts to drive a wedge between the whole realm of Faith and the actual textures of physical life is a religion that has perhaps not granted to the Incarnation the full extent of the mysteries that attach to it and flow from it. It is to turn the Incarnation into a mere doctrine.
In the films one comes away with many thoughts, many emotions, many dreams. To live in a world like Middle Earth where every kiss, every look, every tear, every battle is immensely sacred and important. This is our goal. This is the Christian vocation--as king, priest, and prophet we are to synergize with Christ to sanctify all of life. As we say in the Liturgy, "thine own of thine own". God, through the Incarnation, has taken every facet of our lives and delivered it back to us redeemed. Let us not squander this gift.