If you are someone who generally finds church a bit boring but loves the Harry Potter books and movies, then Leverington Church in Philadelphia has an unusual sermon series that might just pique your interest.
Entitled Harry Potter meets Jesus this set of seven short talks by Pastor Langdon remains true to both the Bible and the novels and brings out some fascinating parallels that are sure to make both more interesting to a generation of readers that have been influenced what is arguably ‘the most popular cultural phenomenon of our time’.
Langdon deals unflinchingly with such thorny topics as free will (and the sorting hat), racism (and mud bloods), depression (and dementors), what good parenting looks like, self-sacrifice, temptation and the hard teachings of Jesus.
For instance, one excellent analogy is drawn between Harry’s relationship with Albus Dumbledore and our relationship with God (although, as Langdon makes clear, Dumbledore does not represent God in the books).
As headmaster, Dumbledore makes rules without giving reasons or excuses, sometimes explaining the consequences only partly. He doesn’t tell the students all the things he is involved with and what he is doing behind the scenes. Harry comes to understand some of the rationale behind Dumbledore’s behaviour but not all. In the end what he really needs to know is “is he good, does he care, and can I trust him?”
The same is true when we face rules from God that seem arbitrary. Do we only obey when we understand everything – even though God is infinite and we might not even be able to understand if He did explain Himself – or do we base our obedience on relationship because we have come to understand that God is good, He cares and we can trust Him?
The sermons can be watched or listened to and are accompanied, on the website, by notes that include the scripture references and key points, that can be used for further study. Check them out at www.levpres.org/harry-potter