Thursday, July 14, 2011

Christ-Haunted

E and M, our Finnish niece (daughter of Beve's oldest brother, R) flew in from Helsinki Tuesday night.  While they battle jet-lag, the girls are mapping their strategy for M's visit here.  This trip is the long-postponed trip she began before Christmas when a blizzard blanketed the entire continent of Europe and stranded her in England for five days.  Last night we exchanged gifts she'd wrapped in December (we hadn't gotten so far as to wrap ours, since she was coming a week before the event...), including Christmas ornaments, and a lovely scarf.  So appropriate for July, you know.  And we opened the plethora of gifts E bought for us along her route.  Between the two of them, it really was like Christmas in July.  Can I just say, Marimekko fabric?  I stare at that fabric online all the time, so to own some is wonderful.  Beve's comment was, "You absolutely cannot use it on a quilt you give away."  He knows me very well...but I did promise.
Because they're both so tired, and because we don't really need too much more of an excuse than that, between tea and shopping, and in order to be prepared for the last movie, which we're going to see tomorrow morning, we're in the middle of a Harry Potter movie marathon.  And yes, I include myself in the group.  I have both read and watched all of them all along.  And had countless conversations with people about them.  In the beginning, some of our more conservative Christian friends were deadset against allowing their children to read them.  This was when I was purchasing them the instant they were available.  "But they're about witches and magic," they'd say.  You know, WITCHES.  Yes, I'd answer.  But the theme, like the best of fairy tales, is of good overcoming evil.  Actually, exactly like the one true fairy-tale, the myth that is reality of God who came to earth as a man and destroyed the power that the evil one had over humans.  These well-meaning people who didn't like HP looked only superficially at the stories.  Yes, witches.  But curses too.  Like the curse sin has over us, perhaps?

I remember such a conversation with a close friend who objected quite strenuously, who was horrified that I not only allowed, but encouraged my children to read such books. "Even Narnia has witches and magic," I told her.  Then I was shocked--SHOCKED!!!--that she wouldn't allow her children to read THE NARNIA CHRONICLES for the same reason.  "Have you even read them?" I asked. "No, and I don't intend to," she answered.  Even when I explained that Aslan was to Narnia who Jesus is to this world, she didn't get it.  Her mind was closed (very much, I'm afraid, like Uncle Andrew in The Magician's Nephew who doesn't hear the animals of Narnia speak because, by definition, animals cannot speak!).  I think at that moment our friendship began to die.

It's a sad thing, I think, to miss such possibilities of God speaking to us in a myriad of ways, both expected and unexpected.  To miss that our God, the ultimate Creator who stands behind every work of art, written, painted, sculpted and danced can fairly shout that He is here and He is not silent.  OK, so there are exceptions.  I admit this.  The odes to filth and garbage written and drawn by deranged and ugly minds cannot point to nor glorify Him.  But many more do.  More than those which say His name aloud from the page or make Him the explicit subject.  He haunts our art because He created us.  As He created the world from which we get our inspiration.

And Christ haunts such works as well.  In seminary, I took a class called 'Jesus in Literature'.  We often spoke of books, movies, etc. being Christ-haunted.  Where good overcomes evil, there is a sense of God, but even more, where a particular character must save the world, one way or another, we call that person the Christ-figure.  Aslan, obviously.  But also Frodo Baggins.  And Harry Potter.  Yes, I said that.  Harry Potter.  Christ-haunted.

Be open to where we can catch a glimpse of Him.  It will expand your mind and heart and spirit.  And perhaps even make you see Him more clearly (as the song says), love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly, day by day.

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