This July, one of my favorite fictional characters returned to the big screen. Harry Potter, the amazing boy wizard, once again returns for a summer appearance. I don’t know about you, but I have been grateful for Harry’s reappearance in print or the big screen.
Harry hit the bookshelves in 1997, and for the last 12 years, in print or in movies, J.K. Rowling returns her fans to Hogwarts each summer. The last book of the series broke all previous sales records for any publication when it sold more than 15 million copies globally within 24 hours of being released!
Why are these stories so captivating? I can only speak for myself. Somehow, J.K. Rowlings characters bring to life the hard work of growing up. Harry and his friends face death and its loss, the ups and downs of friendships, discerning good from evil and the hard work of choosing good especially when we’d rather choose evil.
And through it all, even the most evil characters are portrayed with understanding and when merited, compassion, without justifying their wrongdoing, Sometimes the evil people return to goodness and their evil is conquered. And sometimes their evil is simply vanquished when they die.
But what I like best is that good always conquers evil in the end. Harry’s adventures remind me that good will always eventually triumph over evil, including the evil that is part of us.
There is much that is evil in the world. I could make a list, but just read the newspaper, and you’ll find a few examples. Christians believe that evil is real, dangerous, and destructive. But we also believe that evil will be defeated.
We believe it’s defeated on a small scale in daily ways. Simple acts of kindness, compassion, and mercy defeat evil. Decisions to forgive those who have wronged us, decisions to ask forgiveness from those we have wronged. Each of these acts destroys an evil.
We believe that it will be defeated on a cosmic scale at the end of time. Someday God will renew the world in such a way that evil will cease.
We believe that our own evil will be defeated and removed from us by God’s forgiveness and love. And we believe that the evil we have experienced will be redeemed, transformed, and somehow turned into something good and holy.
Finally in Harry Potter’s world, the victories over evil are always won by sacrifice. So too in our world, for good to triumph over evil means sacrifice. Sometimes it is my small sacrifices that prevent or undo an evil. But most often evil is undone by Jesus love shown on the cross.
So get some tickets, grab your popcorn and watch the battle!