Skip to main content

Rescue from Without

 


Today we will look at the stage of the Return called "Rescue from Without" in the Hero's Journey.  In this stage, the hero is making their escape from the world of their adventure, but they have found themselves in a bind and they need help from outside of themselves.  They lack what is needed, even with all of the powers and skills gained throughout their adventure.  

In the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke is unable to defeat the Emporer until his Father, Darth Vader, changes sides and throws the Emporer to his death.  Since he had been fighting Vader moments before, this was an unexpected turn of events, it was "rescue from without".  

In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo reached Mount Doom but he found he was unable to free himself of the control of the ring.  When he held the ring out to throw it into the lava he zoned out and started to put the ring on instead.  It was at this point that Gollum attacked, bit off Frodo's finger, and fell into the lava with the ring in his hand.  Frodo could not have taken the final step without aid from without.      

A few moments later, after completing their quest, Frodo laid down on the ground.  He was giving up and prepared himself to die in that spot, but Gandalf arrived flying on an Eagle to rescue him.  Another example of the rescue from without when the Hero had nothing left to give.  

Sitting in the tomb Jesus was dead.  A dead man cannot raise himself, but help came from without and he was resurrected.  

There is something about the liminal space when we have reached the end of our abilities.  It is in this space that we can be sure God is at work.  Paul, a man well acquainted with the limits of his human form, said this best in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

God, when we feel low or weak and we feel we have nothing left to give, remind us that your strength is most present in our own weakness.  Remind us to have faith like David approaching Goliath, for while he did not know the strength of his enemy, he knew you!  Give peace to those who are now at their limits, let them rest in you, and let them see your rescue come quickly.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   "...in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Refusal to Return

The last cycle of The Hero's Journey begins with what Campbell calls "The Refusal of the Return".  In this stage the hero has finished their quest and won their award, but now they are faced with the idea of returning to their place of origin.  They struggle with the idea of leaving paradise, or sharing their wisdom with their old community.  After being changed so much, do they even still belong in the place they came from? In The Lord of the Rings, after Frodo has tossed the ring into the fire and the battle is won, he is so tired he wants to give up, there is nothing left driving him to return home, so he lays down and prepares to die.  Then, when the party regroups in Gondor, they linger there for a long time before each returns to their homeland.  Finally, when Frodo does return home, he is uncomfortable, he feels out of place, and wants to leave.  He has changed and realizes that he no longer belongs in the Shire.  After Christ's resurrection he met with Mary fi

The Return Threshold

  As we come near the end of our weekly series on the Hero's Journey, today we will cover "The Return Threshold".  In this stage, the Hero has succeeded in their quest and now they are coming back to their old world.  Joseph Campbell calls this the "ordinary world".   The return to the ordinary world usually includes some type of challenge.  Sometimes an enemy must be challenged, but sometimes the enemy is the ordinary world itself.  As we have followed the hero's journey we have seen the hero change, what was once important is no longer important.  While the hero has changed, the ordinary world has not.  The ordinary world holds values that the returning hero has abandoned for something greater.  This can cause tension as the hero tries to return as a changed person. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, we see the Hobbits finally return to their home in the Shire.  Unfortunately in their absence Saruman and his orcs have taken over the Shire and must be defeat