Monday, May 21, 2012

Healing in the hands of the King

"Alas! If he should die. Would that there were kings in Gondor, as there were once upon a time, they say! For it is said in old lore: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known." -Ioreth, a woman from the Houses of Healing in The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R Tolkien.

Aragorn, the heir to the throne of Gondor came into the Houses of Healing and treated Faramir, Eowyn, and Merry so that they would not die. He was a skilled healer, using herbs and wisdom to cure his patients. Although he had not claimed the title of king yet, Faramir referred to him as a king. Ioreth heard and said, "King! Did you hear that? What did I say? The hands of a healer, I said." The passage continues by describing the spreading of the news: "And soon the word had gone out from the House that the king was indeed among them."

And so it was that Aragorn's power of healing testified that he was the rightful king of Gondor.

The kings of France justified their right to the throne by a concept called, "The Divine Right of Kings."  Basically, they claimed that God had given the Bourbon line the kingship of France and so their power must not be disputed because God said it was to be this way.   While the Bible does say to submit to governing authorities, it does not mean that a specific line has a right to the throne. God raises up rulers and God also deposes them (Read I-II Samuel, I-II Kings, and I-II Chronicles).  Because of King Saul's disobedience, God did not allow his dynasty to continue but brought David to the throne; he began a new royal line.

Because of the "Divine Right" in France, there was a tradition that the kings had miraculous healing powers. When Louis XVI was beheaded the people rushed forward to capture some of his blood, dipping cloth into it because they thought his blood would heal their sick.

That is some extreme irony right there.

It would seems that the French no longer believed in Divine Right. However, if they really did not believe in Divine Right, then they would not believe his blood had power.

While the blood of Louis held no healing power, and Aragorn is a fictional character, there is a King who can heal.  He healed thousands by the power of God while he was here on Earth.  He healed the lame, the blind, the deaf, the mute, the leprous, among other diseases. He even gave life to the dead.  The miracles he worked showed that he was, and is, the son of God, the King of the universe.
He was executed by the Romans for crimes he did not commit, and in dieing he was a sacrifice before God to cleanse all people from their sins. He rose from the dead and his healing work continues. He heals the scars on our hearts, breaks our addictions, and gives eternal life to those who are in his kingdom. His name is Jesus.

Monday, May 7, 2012

"Big as a house, gray as a mouse," and very loud!

The Song of Roland is an old French epic poem in which the knights of Charlemagne battle Saracen forces.
The leading knight, Roland, has a horn that they refer to as an "olifant."

 "Olifant" is the Old French word for "elephant." In fact, the present day English word is derived from the French (The American Heritage Dictionary). What is an elephants tusk? Ivory. Roland's horn was probably made of ivory.

In The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien, there are some large elephant-like creatures called, "Oliphaunts."  (The title of this post comes from a poem about Oliphaunts in the book.)

Boromir also had an important horn.  It is mentioned in his first appearance in the book, "on a baldric he wore a great horn tipped in silver that now was laid upon his knees." He blew it as he defended Merry and Pippin from the Orcs, calling his companions: "Then suddenly with a deep-throated call a great horn blew, and the blasts of it smote the hills and echoed in the hollows, rising in a mighty shout above the roaring of the falls."  As Aragorn raced towards the scene, the horn sounded "desperately" and then ceased abruptly. He arrived too late: the Orcs had already run off with the hobbits. Aragorn found Boromir sitting against a tree, dieing. His horn, symbolic of his life, lay broken at his side. "But Aragorn saw that he was pierced with many black-feathered arrows; his sword was still in his hand, but it was broken near the hilt; his horn cloven in two was at his side. Many Orcs lay slain, piled all around him and at his feet."

As Roland fought the attacking Saracens, his friend Olivier told him to blow the horn and call for the help of Charlemagne's army.  Roland refused, and as a result the entire rear guard was wiped out, including himself and Olivier. However, before the battle was completely over, Roland blew the horn long and loud and called the army back after there was no more hope of survival. Before they arrived, Roland blew his horn again, but much weaker this time and Charlemagne knew that Roland was scarcely alive. Before he died, the warrior placed his sword and horn beneath him lest they fall into enemy hands. Charlemagne and his knights found the battlefield covered in bodies.