Dying for others, the church and Harry Potter

[These are my notes from Youth Fellowship on Sunday night.]

I like three things a lot. I like Jesus. I like the church. And I like the Harry Potter series.

(I like more than just them but I like them a lot.)

I like these things because

Jesus died for the world and you and me. Jesus died for us because he loves us and wanted to help us. Jesus asks us to live the same way and helps us do that because when we see that way of life we know it is good.

The church is something we get to be a part of. God’s kingdom looks like people who want to live like Jesus getting together to help each other in do it as they follow Jesus.
J.K. Rowling in writing Harry Potter totally seems to get that serving, loving and even dying for others is like the most powerful and beautifully awesome thing in the world.

She also seems to get that the kingdom in spades. She gets that we need others to help and carry us.

So I want us to think tonight, pretty briefly, about how these really awesome Christian ideas are explored in the Harry Potter story.

1. Love and hate, life and death

Voldemort = big bad – destructive, evil and likes to kill people.

Lily and Harry = big goodies – they love, care and even die for others.

Lily does this and it protects Harry.

“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark.”

This is why throughout the rest of the books Voldemort can never harm Harry.

In fact Harry’s love and willingness to sacrifice himself protect all those who gave himself for.

Because of things like this anything Voldemort can do is no longer effective. Through the power of self-sacrificing love people get protected.

Consider this in regards Jesus.

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

Jesus died for the world (John 3:16-17) and because he is alive, he promises that everyone on Team Jesus shall be made alive again as well!

There are lots of big bads in the world and they can’t ever be as bad as they want because God has made them powerless.

2. The Order of the Phoenix and the church.

What is the Order of the Phoenix?

The order is the resistance against Voldemort.

It is a community of life, hope, protection and goodness against Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

It is a small group that struggles for the Wizarding world and it very quickly finds itself attacked and on the run.

What is a phoenix?

The phoenix is a resurrection bird.

The Order is named after a bird that always rises from the dead – a bird that can’t beaten by death.

This is cool because while the Order struggled and was getting beaten by the Death Eaters and for all intents and purposes was failing super badly. There was still hope in the name “Phoenix”.

I love this because the church is so much like this it is wicked cool.

The church is a place that shows the world God’s desire for to look a certain way and Christians are asked to live that way. The church is a place that anticipates life, hope, goodness, equality and love, living and making it happen among people. The church gets to live this kingdom way because that’s how Jesus moved and lived and acted among us.

And like the Order of the Phoenix got its name from a person who couldn’t be killed, the church gets to help in God’s kingdom coming on earth as in heaven because Jesus died for us all and was raised to life by God!

And the church may not look like it is doing a good job, perhaps lots of bad things are going down that it doesn’t look like we’re stopping but there is always hope because Phoenix’s rise out of ashes, Jesus came out of a tomb after three days and as such death and Death Eaters don’t have the last word.

So that’s just some Harry Potter and Christianity related thoughts that I hoped would be intriguing because we all pretty much dig Harry Potter and this is a good thing!