Starlight On the Western Seas: An Excerpt from a Tolkien Devotional

Right now it's the magic hour in California, that time between dusk and starlight when sunlight meanders and fades. The sky looks like a Monet painting at the moment, and the air is cooling fast.

Somehow it's the perfect atmosphere for something Tolkien-esque.

I'm working on a new 5-day e-devotional inspired by the Lord of the Rings novel by J. R. R. Tolkien. I'll be using this devotional as a free incentive for future projects (like for my new book), but I wanted to share some of it with you because, well, you're awesome.

I've finished Day One of the devotional. Here it is below. I hope it inspires you somehow.


"Starlight on the Western Seas"

We still remember, we who dwell

In this far land beneath the trees

The starlight on the Western Seas.

Frodo and Sam halted and sat silent in the soft shadows, until they saw a shimmer as the travellers came towards them.[From "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."]


I will remember the works of the Lord;

Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.

I will also meditate on all Your work,

And talk of Your deeds.

-Psalm 77:11,12 (NKJV)

A deep longing fills every page of Tolkien’s masterpiece The Lord of the Rings. Across its panorama Tolkien speaks of glimmering starlight, glittering sunsets, and the swelling blue of night as travelers pass beneath moon and star and night breeze—and all of it is seen from the eyes of hobbits who love to walk, who pine for adventure and great vistas and wonders. The smallness of the travelers, combined with their big-heartedness, makes Middle-Earth seem larger than life and filled with wonder.

But beyond these features of Tolkien’s masterpiece, there’s something else that adds a deeper layer of yearning: the long, bittersweet memory of Middle-Earth. Every turn of the road and every shaded grove holds some ancient tale in it—some distant connection to memories and legends that endure in the songs of elves or in the lore of the kings of Westernesse. 

This is partially why The Lord of the Rings fills the reader with such longing. The culture of Middle-Earth finds extraordinary value in remembering. All memories worth remembering are committed to song or to handwritten books (like Bilbo’s and Frodo’s books).

In a similar way, in our relationship with God, there are moments when deep longing and perhaps even deeper wells of memory intersect, and we stand on the pinnacle of some night looking up at the stars, remembering things that God has done in our lives—remembering the tokens of love, big and small, that He has written into our stories.

Remembering was a serious business among the peoples of Middle-Earth. Remembering was at the center of everything they did. This is a good trait to imitate. In the Word, God urged His people to remember all He has done and to meditate on those good things. We should do the same.

In fact, why not be like Bilbo and Frodo and write your own chronicle that details your adventures with God? Buy a journal and begin writing down everything you can remember that God has done in your life. Return to the journal often and meditate on those things.

Abba, thank you for Your works in my life and the way you slip tokens of love, big and small, into my story. Help me to see those tokens, those love notes you slip to my heart—little beacons of light like stars glimmering in the night—and help me to remember those good things so that the remembering becomes a way of life. In Jesus’ Name, amen.