Gandalf: "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love." The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 2012.
Part of being on a Tolkien kick is also taking in the Peter Jackson movies that are based on the books. Jackson was fairly faithful to the books in his adaptions of the Tolkien stories. However, the above quote was purely Hollywood. It was not in the book and simply an addition to the screen play of the movies.
In the movie, Gandalf is a wise wizard leading a group of dwarves on a quest to regain their kingdom that was lost to a dragon. When this statement appears in the movie, Gandalf was asked why he had chosen a seemingly weaker individual (a hobbit) to be part of his quest. The quote was his response to said question.
In these times, we may feel that unending darkness and evil have permeated our world. Constant warfare with a steady flow of refugees leaving war zones are almost a constant in International news. At home, school shootings, racial discord, opiate epidemic and poverty seem to dominate the communities we live in. All of these problems seem insurmountable and impossible to solve. The question comes to mind, "What can I do?"
Gandalf's words echo what Christ has asked us to do as Christians. The Bible contains several stories of small acts of kindness and love winning the day. Christ at the well, the feeding of the five thousand, and healings were small actions that made a great difference in the world. The Apostles were often fed and housed by fellow unnamed Christians to help keep Christ's mission moving forward.
With these examples in mind, what are the simple acts that I can do to advance Christ's Kingdom? Let's take a trip through a grocery store: Try letting someone else have that super close parking place. Try pulling apart those stuck together carts for the next person. Reach up to the top shelf for someone who is having trouble grabbing those items. Smile. Pick up that piece of garbage laying in the parking lot. Let that young mom go before you in the checkout line.
These acts do not seem that significant or hard. They are the things that you can do that triggers conversations between friends about how one's faith in humanity have been restored. It's those simple things that lead individuals to ask why you are being so helpful. It's those simple things that can lead to a conversation about what Christ means to you. Finally, it's a way to show the grace and love from our Holy Father that overflows from our lives and splashes on to others. Most importantly, these acts can be little glimpses of heaven that help fight back the darkness of these days for everyone around.