In Your Very Skin (January 11, 2013)

…Opening To…

Just like a deer that craves streams of water,
my whole being craves you, God.
My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. (Psalm 42:1-2a)

…Listening In…

“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. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin.” (Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone)

…Filling Up…

We have come to the final day of our first Harry Potter week on devo180. And no week about the first book would be complete without a discussion of the sentences above. Read from the perspective of a follower of Jesus, Dumbledore’s words about love drip with the power of the resurrection. In a sense, we know that resurrection is real because the love we have for those who have died doesn’t go away. True love is never one-sided. So when our love lingers for a deceased loved one, then we can be sure the love of that person lingers as well. How could it possibly if the person is dead?

All love is held in trust by God. Whether we acknowledge it or not, all love passes through God because all love is of God. Our deceased loved ones are even closer to God’s presence than we are because of the power of the resurrection. And therefore, their love for us still matters in our lives.

Dumbledore doesn’t speak in such theological terms, but J.K. Rowling, it seems to me, illustrates this understanding of love through the image of Lily Potter’s loving, self-sacrificial protection of Harry. Her love for him lingers in his very skin. Voldemort doesn’t understand this (what C.S. Lewis might have called a part of the deeper magic from before the dawn of time). Voldemort is obsessed with cheating death, so he never seeks to understand that there is a power beyond death that one can only access once one has passed through death’s gate.

Harry’s mother’s love does not evaporate when she dies. Instead, it “leaves its own mark.” It’s an invisible mark, though Harry seems to think Dumbledore means Harry’s scar. This mark resonates for me with the scene in the Gospel when the resurrected Jesus invites Thomas to touch the marks that Jesus’ own self-sacrificial love has made. Lily’s love illustrates Christ’s. Later in the series, Harry will follow the same path. But that love lingers in our very skin. And this is how we know resurrection is real.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you are love, and I am only able to love because you desire me to have the capacity. Help me to love others with the unselfish love of your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, glad to know that, even though I am a muggle, you still weave your magic through my life.

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