Posts Tagged ‘lent’

As I mentioned last fall in this post about Ritual Participation, there is a blog dedicated to calendar readings of the Lord of the Rings each year during Lent.  Over the years I have done several annual readings, not every year, but sometimes for a few years in a row, such as when I returned to Lord of the Rings in 2016 (after absence of several years) and then read through The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings again in 2017 and 2018 (in audio format), followed by reading through the Lord of the Rings: One Volume Kindle edition during the first half of 2022.

It is nearing the start for the 2023 Lenten Lord of the Rings reading — it starts this coming Monday, February 13, with the first reading in the Prologue –On Hobbits, and other matters.   Over the next two months I’ll be reading per this schedule – a fast pace though do-able with a combination of audio and print versions.  Every reading it seems, brings out new considerations, great themes and devotional thoughts.  Since I’ve been getting an intro to Tolkien scholarship (Tolkien: A Celebration, and Following Gandalf, plus several podcast episodes of Amon Sul) as well this last year, it’ll be interesting to see what associations come to my mind, what new insights I’ll discover as I read it this time.

Check out this blog post with links to various devotionals from the first reading: many Lenten thoughts here, from the content of the prologue, regarding our comfort and being sheltered; perseverance; the things that define us; beginnings, and Calendars.

This recent essay from Joseph Pearce at The Imaginative Conservative, The Death and Resurrection of Bilbo Baggins, is also interesting — more particular to The Hobbit and Bilbo Baggins, but also fitting as about Hobbits and Bilbo’s character before and after his great adventure.

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An interesting point brought up in an Amon Sul podcast (episode #24), in relation to myth and story:  in our modern world, people often focus on “how can I relate to this person?” and similar questions.  As for example, which character in Tolkien’s world am I most like, or which one do I want to be like?  Modern people often ask, how do I relate to such people who are not ordinary, who do not have “ordinary” lives such as mine?  So it is in our modern, very psychologized world.  This can be seen as a symptom of modernism with its stress on individualism and lack of community.  A key part of community life, in contrast with our age, is that of ritual participation: the repeated, common experiences of a group of people, such as in observances in the calendar each year.  Such was the experience in pre-modern societies, whether pagan or in the early and then medieval Church.

In our age, science fiction and fantasy fiction lend themselves to a type of ritual participation: dressing up in costume, going to Star Trek or other sci-fi or fantasy conventions, for instance.  I remember my early days attending such events every year.  Lord of the Rings is another entry into ritual participation:  Doxamoots and related convention gathering events, but also the simple pleasure of the repeated experience found in re-reading through Lord of the Rings every year or at set times of the year.

On this note, I have even come across a reading schedule for Lord of the Rings.  It’s like a yearly Bible reading schedule, but for all the days of Lent (about 2 months) – and with specific chapters for assigned reading each day.  The schedule is even adjusted each year, with the 2023 reading schedule available here.  Various blogs have followed the Lent schedule, with posts related to the reading in the Lent schedule, such as this post from a few years ago, and also this post from 2015.  There’s even a Lenten Lord of the Rings podcast that provides daily updates, brief “devotional” thoughts on each day’s reading.

It’s certainly an aggressive schedule, one that I’m not sure if I’d be able to complete every day, but I think I’ll give it a try.  I may include audio book reading, with the audio book version (unabridged) I have (read by Rob Inglis).  Of course, Lent season is still four months away, and I completed this year’s reading of Lord of the Rings a month or so ago, to start on The Silmarillion now.

What are some other ideas and reading schedules for Lord of the Rings reading, or for reading of Tolkien’s other works?

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