Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and No Greater Love

I went to see the final Harry Potter movie last night and it was fantastic. It's been a few years since I read the last  book in the series, so I forgot about some of the story elements and how it really is all about love (what Dumbledore stresses to Harry so many times). In the Chronicles of Narnia it's a given that Azlan is a Christ-like figure. In Harry Potter, it doesn't come out until the final book/movies, but his character is also Christ-like!

Throughout the series people died for Harry Potter, and he is known as "The boy who lived." Or perhaps we could even say the chosen or anointed one? The only person he truly fought was Lord Voldemort, or the Evil one. At the end of the book/movie, when Draco and company are about to die in a raging fire, Harry insists on saving them. He knew how to love his enemies. And in the end, with fear pumping through his body, he went to face Lord Voldemort and death. He accepted death, not knowing it wasn't the final death for him.

In his brief time "between worlds" he had a conversation with Dumbledore, and a quite from that really struck me. "Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love." Harry knew love. Throughout the series he was constantly reminded about the love his parents had for him. He was also loved dearly by friends. His love was greater than his circle of safety and comfort though. It extended to those he might not of cared for at first. Ultimately, Harry defeated death and Lord Voldemort with that great love.

Last night as all of this, and more, was going through my mind, my heart hurt for the world. There is a such a lack of love, and yet a deep and unquenchable desire to be loved. All we want, as humans, is to be loved and know that someone cares about us. People seek attention, just look at Facebook! And I know I'm guilty of wanting some social media love as well. We can learn a lot from Harry Potter. Although he is a fictional character and a mere teenager, he lived his life with passion and a purpose. He had courage like none other and he let his love shine through.

This Henri Nouwen quote sums up a lot of the correlations I barely made:

Jesus is given to the world.  He was chosen, blessed, and broken to be given.  Jesus' life and death were a life and death for others.  The Beloved Son of God, chosen from all eternity, was broken on the cross so that this one life could multiply and become food for people of all places and all times.

As God's beloved children we have to believe that our little lives, when lived as God's chosen and blessed children, are broken to be given to others.  We too have to become bread for the world.  When we live our brokenness under the blessing, our lives will continue to bear fruit from generation to generation.  That is the story of the saints - they died, but they continue to be alive in the hearts of those who live after them - and it can be our story too.

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