The Field of Cormallen
A great Shadow has departed – it is Easter, and the Enemy has been defeated. Our weary Lenten pilgrimage is over: the Ring has been destroyed, and beyond all hope we have escaped the fiery doom that seemed to engulf us. There is laughter, spring, and joy in our hearts. As we awake in the new light of Easter, we like Sam can find ourselves asking, “Is everything sad going to come untrue?”
Yet, things are not the same as they once were: we do not find ourselves again in the Garden of Eden, and even in Middle-earth are there evils that still need to be dispersed. Though Sauron has been defeated, good and beautiful things of this world pass away. The power of the Three Rings fails: the Sea still calls us home. The resurrection does not restore the past: instead, it restores the future. On Easter we do not return to our pre-sin status, but instead obtain a far more remarkable post-sin state. As the Exultet from the Easter Vigil so aptly proclaimed, “O happy fault, o truly necessary sin of Adam, that won for us so mighty a Redeemer!” In sin we have lost the glory of the past world, of our origin and our longing: in the resurrection we gain the glory of a better world, of our telos and our hope.
Hence, our journey has not ended yet. The Quest has reached its happy conclusion, but the Fellowship remains bound together. Labors yet remains: to drive out the effects of evil from our persons, to offer healing and rest to those who have suffered greatly, to broker peace with those who have been misled by the darkness. Much there is to repair: much there is to rebuild. We have travelled far this Lent, and in these early days of the Octave of Easter, we still have need to return home. Easter is not the end of our travels: although the power of the Evil One has been broken, yet there is life still worth living.
Nevertheless, we can celebrate: we can take the time to sing for joy in the tongues of Elves and Men. “Long live the Halflings – I will sing to the Lord, triumphant is he, the horse and the chariot he cast into the sea!” Our greatest fears have passed, and though our work has not concluded, nevertheless we know that the victory has already been won. The great King of our lives has returned – and he has come to take back all his ancient realm, rule over all his ancient people. Great and glorious things have we done, and far greater and more glorious things have been done unto us. No song can fully express such joy and wonder: and yet we sing all the same.
Here then is the Easter glory, the glory we find on the field of Cormallen: that all our wishes have come true. Things are not as they once were – they are better than they have ever been. Things have not been restored as we would have once had them, but as they should now be. There is work yet to be done, but the ultimate war is won. The great Shadow has passed – for behold! The tomb is empty.