I enjoyed the Harry Potter books, despite my being an adult when they were published. I was coaching middle school at the time, and I had young children. I got to see the books through their sees, and it was lovely. We were really talk about the word play in the books, and kids didn’t stop to think how nerdy it might be to talk about the influence of foreign usages on the refers and spells, or on the etymology and myth and puns behind the words.
We all want to believe in magic. Even adults. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to solve problems with exactly a recollect or a waving of a lodge or a few syllables. If they rhyme, all the better!
Yes, we may congratulate ourselves on our modernity, but truly, notion is still a huge influencer of human behavior. We miss talismans, glamours, or potions, wizard lozenges that melt overweight apart. We look for the four-leaf clover. We may carry a rabbit’s foot or evade certain colourings of M& Ms. Black cats, interrupted reflects, spilled salt, stepping on the baseline between home plate and first or on the hits in the sidewalk? Here comes trouble.
The Bible mentions that pharaoh had sorcerers who could match Moses trick for prank when he was demanding freedom for the Hebrew children–at least until it came to the harass of the gnats and the cooks. But one of the poems we will heard recently as a Gospel reading has become a kind of talisman in the favourite understanding:” For God so adored the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him is no longer able perish but may have eternal life.”
I would guess that John 3:16 is one of the most excerpted lyrics in all of scripture. It is too an important link between other says as we finish our walk through Lent. God’s gift of Jesus to the world as God’s son proceeds those who see Jesus’s light to a life with God by believing — merely through sect( vv. 16 -1 7 ). Yet the verse misused becomes a type of false talisman — something beings praise instead of treating as a link to God’s love.
One of my personal, petty irritations about how this ballad can be misleadingly exercised is seen in the ways that John 3:16 pops-up on television. There it is, held up on a large placard in the end zone. Often there is a hip, ALWAYS male, tattooed, preacher intoning that, if “youre feeling” lost, all you have to do is pray something similar to the sentiment in John 3:16, and you shall be saved–just like that. Likely you can then go about your business having checked-off the box to keep your soul from inferno, the suggest being that nothing else is required. A formula is NOT enough.
John 3:16 is not a magic trick to be used to evade responsibility for one’s shortcomings , nor is it a “get-out-of-hell-free” poster. There is no magic formula that helps one escape the consequences of actions that lead-in person or persons astray–something all of us have done. Our immoralities should rightly derive regret and a determination to change behavior for both our own purpose and that of those around us. Fear of hell or damnation ought not be elevated to the sole role in the lifelong conversation between God and our souls.
God adored the world–and everyone in it–so much that God withheld nothing from us in seeking to help us live “the worlds largest” perfectly human lifetimes we could live. Not even God’s own son. We are not called to summon Jesus like a wish-fulfilling genie. We are called to follow him and walk in his ways. All in the name of love.
Love–self-emptying, other-affirming, self-sacrificing desire- IS the most powerful magic in the universe, as even the Harry Potter books pointed out. And the most potent magic of affection is found in the fact that we ALL are borne up by the grace of it, and be changed forever by that self-giving , no-holds back adoration that Jesus offers.
The Rev. Leslie Scoopmire is a writer, musician, and a clergyman in the Diocese of Missouri. She is rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Ellisville, MO. She affixes daily petitions, reflections, and speeches at her blog Abiding In Hope, and obtains spiritual writings and idols at Poems, Psalms, and Prayers.
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