I remember the day vividly, and so do many of my friends. We all describe ourselves as being legitimately crestfallen when we realized that no letter was coming in the mail. And while a small percentage of us resorted to the hope that perhaps we were simply muggles in the midst of a hidden wizarding world, most of us came to the sobering conclusion that Hogwarts, and Diagon Alley, and Hippogriffs, and Whomping Willows, just didn’t exist.
As I said before, this was hard to swallow for me, and many others of my generation. Reading J.K. Rowling’s stories, we received a glimpse of a life that was full of excitement and adventure, a life with the promise of wands and trolls and ghosts and potions, a life where people who once thought of themselves as ordinary discovered that they were actually destined for extraordinary things.
This is why we love stories that involve magic. Magic has a certain alluring charm to it, a certain breathless wonder to it because it has the potential to carry us beyond our human capabilities. We were all disappointed not to find an owl with a letter on our window sill because deep down there is a part of each of us that desires to live Harry Potter’s large than life life!
I was standing in church yesterday during worship and as I felt the words of the songs funneling out of my lips, I thought to myself, as I so often do, “we’re singing about some pretty big stuff.”
“And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?”
“Chains be broken, lives be healed, eyes be opened, Christ is revealed.”
“Oh my God, he will not delay, my refuge and strength always.”
These songs are dealing with some ISSUES, issues that are larger than life. And if it’s all true, if God really is this good and is able to do this many things and transform my life in this way, if it’s all true, then it’s like magic.
But there was one problem, as I much as I have dreamed and searched and hoped and prayed, magic is not real. I’m never getting a letter from Hogwarts, no matter how hard I try. And regardless, God can’t be magic. Prayer doesn’t work like a wand does, you don’t just say the right incantation, wave your Bible, and out pops a car. Magic works that way, God doesn’t.
So there was only one conclusion I could arrive at. God is like magic, but better, because he’s real. God offers us something better.
Call me young, naïve, idealistic, whatever, but I actually believe that the life that God offers and calls us to is a story that could compete with that of Harry Potter. God calls each and every one of us to a life of excitement and adventure, a life with the promise of wands and trolls and ghosts and potions(just accept the metaphor please J) a life where people who once thought of themselves as ordinary discovered that they were actually destined for extraordinary things. It’s like magic, but better.