On the Red Arrow and the White Horse

The Muster of Rohan

The Flag of Rohan (Source)

The Flag of Rohan (Source)

The board is set. The pieces are moving. All roads are running together to one end, and all people are being gathered to take part in that end. Both great and small; old and young; male and female; saint and sinner; Man and Elf and Dwarf and Hobbit – all will be represented. All will tested: and some will succeed and yet perish, while others will fail and yet live. They shall sing of our valiant struggles, yet not matter what be their outcome, they will be woven with glory and sadness.

The Red Arrow comes into our midst: singular, black-feathered and barbed with steel, point dipped in paint of crimson. What token do we have that beckons our service? Long, like Théoden, have we awaited the summons, and yet still shocked are we to grasp it. What oaths do we have yet to fulfill? The time is short: the world is already full of much darkness, and the battle for souls, for justice, for good is already upon us. Let us be startled into action: let us order ourselves for a long ride and fell deeds. For though we ride not on horse over plains, and though we fight not with swords and spears, still though are we called to combat: “Do not think I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword” (Mt 10:34). The Cross is coming into our midst: singular, black-deeded and barbed with salvation, stained with the blood of Christ. Will we hearken to it?

The banner of Rohan unfurls before us: white horse upon a field of green, a rallying symbol and memory of home. What do we carry? The whiteness of purity; the swiftness of steed; the recollection of something green that we love, something of home we defend. It is hard to not find one’s heart aroused upon the glimpse of one’s flag: for the ideals that it represents, for the ancestors that once bore it as well. And all flags are fleeting shadows of the ultimate flags, the Two Standards, under which all of creation must choose to stand. In whose company shall we take up the banner? Which virtues and which forebearers shall we claim as our own inheritance? The banner of Christ is unfurling before us: bright like an image of the Sun, a symbol of discipleship and a memory of the ultimate home. Will we choose it?

Such good should not be denied: having been mustered, we must ride. Our paths be diverse and yet the same, and they follow to an ultimate end: a plain of battle, a gathering of choice. Life and death are set out before us: all must choose their camp. Though our Red Arrow may seem to foreshadow death, yet greater life is in its fashioning. Though our banner of Rohan may seem dimmed in the shadows of the world, yet great light is in its weaving. We are the pieces upon the great board, and we are moving to an end: and let us pray that we shall make such an end worthy of remembrance, worthy of valiant and sorrowful song. For it is before the walls of our own fair Jerusalem that the doom of our time shall be decided, and though the hour is late, yet we know neither the day nor the hour when it shall come.

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