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 Robin Hood 

Theme: Rise and Rise Again,
           Until Lambs Become Lions

Insights:   

 

Imagery

"The adage 'a picture is worth a thousand words' refers to the idea that complex stories can be described with just a single image".1  The last book of the Bible, Revelation, is a series of powerful images summing up the entire story of salvation. In the opening chapters a door is opened in Heaven and there before the Throne is a lamb looking as slain. (Revelation 5:6) He alone is able to take the scroll and break the seals.2 He is identified as the Lion of Judah, the Root of David. Toward the end of the Book, Heaven is opened once more and this time the image is of a white horse and its rider who comes to judge and make war in pure righteousness. (Revelation19:11) All of these images - lamb, lion and rider on a white horse - are images of Jesus Christ, the living one who was dead, and behold is alive forever more. (Revelation 1:18)

 

The early church put these images - sacrificial lamb, risen king and rider on a white horse - into simple statements of faith, ones that could be remembered through dark and perilous times.

          Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.

At the heart of Ridley Scott's new epic adventure, Robin Hood, is a very similar message.

          Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.3

This is a story that in images goes beyond the mythic tale of Robin Hood. One only has to "look along and through" as C.S. Lewis would say to see that this is a salvation story, a gospel story and a love story.

 

Exile

"King Richard the Lion Hearted bankrupt of wealth and glory is plundering his way back to England. In his army is an archer, Robin Longstride". The film begins with the story of a common archer serving a financially and morally bankrupt king. He has lived most of his life in exile, knowing nothing of his family and place of origin.4 He believes that his father abandoned him at an early age. He has lived taking care of himself - an unknown archer, a common man. King Richard calls him honest, brave, nave and a sinner after his own heart.

 

Rise

All of this changes when "fate smiles on" Robin Longstride. Coming upon the ambushed party of Sir Robert Loxley, Robin finds the knight dying of a mortal wound. In a few moments of time, Robin's life is changed forever. He makes a blood covenant to take Loxley's sword back to his aged father, Sir Walter in Nottingham. The prodigal son who took the sword in anger wants it returned, so he can be reconciled with his father and die in peace. Taking the sword that pierced his palm, Robin Longstride becomes Sir Robert Loxley and sets out to catch the ship headed for England.

In the night the ship passes through the water.  For Robin it is an exodus out of exile, a baptism into a new life. For in examining the sword, Robin uncovers a cryptic message on its hilt:

             Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.

It is a haunting phrase that taunts his memory. He does not know it, but the sword explains his past and reveals his destiny. He was just a common archer making his way on foot to the coast. With the sword he has become a nobleman riding a king's white horse.

 

Restoration

Robin/Robert makes his way to Nottingham and there he meets Sir Walter, the father, and Lady Marion, the bride5. In the scenes that follow, Robin is restored to all that was lost in exile. He is embraced by the father, washed and made clean. He is given a bride, a new name and title, thus receiving an inheritance. He is made lord of thousands of acres and given people to care for. A legacy and calling are bestowed upon him. Before, he served a bankrupt king. Now, he will oppose a corrupt king. Before, he was unknown.  Now, he will be marked and known by all.

 

The Stone

Sir Walter tells Robin who his real father was, Thomas Longstride, the stone mason. But he was more than a stone mason; he was a visionary and philosopher whose words changed people. He was the author of a charter (a scroll) giving justice to all people. He was the lamb slain at the cross as Robin finally remembers in the painful flashback. Robin wasn't the abandoned son; he was the son of promise.  Sir Walter tells him, "Not dead---not now".

                                                                            

Rise Again

 

"Cometh the hour, cometh the man."  Sir Walter sends Robin to speak for him at the council in Barnsdale. Entering the village he sees the cross, kneeling there he feels the earth. This is his home. Uncovering his father's hidden inscription, he discovers their handprints. Now his handprint and his father's are one. "The stone the builders rejected, this became the very cornerstone"6. "Not dead---not now."

 

 

The Enemy

From the moment Robin receives the sword, he has a powerful enemy - Godfrey, which ironically means God - peace. Godfrey is the antithesis of Robin.

Robin

Godfrey

     Makes a blood covenant to bring reconciliation and peace

     Makes a blood covenant to kill a king and make war

     Honest

     Dishonest

     Loyal

     Traitor

     Brave

     Coward

     White Horse

     Dark Horse

     Wears the cross

     Wears the dragon with a serpent tongue

     Sows the seed

     Pillages and plunders

     Music, dancing and feasting around the fire

     Killing, stealing and destroying by fire

     Brings life

     Brings death

The Greenwood

For defending the weak against the strong, Robin is condemned to live outside the law. The final scenes of the movie find Robin and Marion living in the Greenwood.  "Greenwood" means a forest in foliage - an image of abundant life. It is a place of freedom, justice, love and fellowship for all the oppressed. Orphan, widow, exile, and outcast find new life and restoration under Robin's protective covering.

 

"And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men,
 but choice and precious in the sight of God,

You, also as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

For this is contained in scripture: Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
and he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed." 
I Peter 2: 4-6

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. "The scroll contains God's plan for rectifying what is wrong and establishing His gracious rule in the world" Discipleship on the Edge by Darrell Johnson.
  3. Rise is a Biblical word for resurrection (Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:34). Lamb and lion are symbols of Christ.
  4. The screenplay makes it clear that Robin was hidden in France after his father's death.
  5. Robin is a diminutive of Robert, which means bright fame.
  6. I Peter 2:7
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