Sermon Series: “Holy Hogwarts!”

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has been such a phenomenon, because it is not really about magic. It is about the development of character in response to archetypal experiences of wonder, discovery, achievement, loss, yearning, hardship, and sacrifice. Like us, Harry is flawed and extraordinary, the damaged hero of his own life. Harry carries, but he does not carry alone, the redemptive mystery at the heart of the human search for purpose, meaning, significance, connection, and worth. Come explore the humanity at the heart of this enduring story during our seven-week worship series. Each Sunday during our Harry Potter series, we will have intergenerational community gatherings, meals, or activities to enjoy one another’s company, have fun, and geek out a little about Harry Potter.

February 10: “The Mirror of Erised” In the first Harry Potter book, Harry encounters the Mirror of Erised, which shows the most desperate desire of a person’s heart, a vision that has been known to drive men mad. Ancient myths and theologies too played with the metaphor of reflection, as a means to show what we often have trouble perceiving without assistance. In this case, the Mirror of Erised is a good reminder of the Buddhist practice of non-attachment. Rev. Anastassia preaching, with special music.

February 17: “Opening the Chamber of Community” In the second book of the Harry Potter series, Harry and his companions are faced with an ancient deadly secret, discover prejudice amongst their fellow witches and wizards, and are threatened by dark magic. It is only when they learn to share, be vulnerable, and lean on the help of their community that Harry and his friends are able to survive. Our high school youth reflect on this theme in this service with sermonettes.

February 24: “Facing Fear” Our fears paralyze us and prevent us from living fully. No matter what stage of life we are in, we are living with fears that hold us back. In the third Harry Potter book, Harry and his friends discover powerful tools to face their deepest fears – tools that will serve them throughout the series. Come and learn how memories of joy and love, and the timely use of humor and imagination, can help us face what frightens us the most. Rev. Kayla preaching, with guest organist.

March 3: “The Scar versus the Dark Mark” Sports have often been a metaphor for war and an outlet for human agression and competition. In this 4th book in the Harry Potter series, J.K Rowling intentionally blurs the line between “fictional” and real violence. In our own lives, we see that the rules of civility and order have begun to break down and that that many Americans are forming opposing and radicalized camps. What are the signs of this happening? What does it call us to pay attention to? Rev. Anastassia with the All Souls Choir.

March 10: “Adulting” The term “adulting” has become a tounge-and-cheek term used by young adults to celebrate the completion of daily “adult” tasks such as paying bills. But what are the deeper responsibility of adults in our society? In Book 5 of Harry Potter, the adults are wating a resistance against the Villan Voldermort that they do not fully let Harry and his friends into. Though this frustrates the youth, the adults have a sense that the full fight is not yet for these teenagers. In an age where our most outspoken and arguably most effective activists against violence have been youth, how are we as adults measuring up? How might we fully embrace the responsibilities of being adults? Rev. Kayla preaching

March 17: “Fatherloss” Harry Potter was orphaned as a baby, and as he comes of age he discovers and loses a number of male mentors, many of whom take on father-like stature to Harry. How can this intergenerational story help us reflect on how the death of a father affects sons, particularly depending on when in their lives it occurs? How can communities encourage men to share an experience too many have been conditioned to endure in silence? How does relationship continue beyond death, and how can it shape one’s life purpose? Rev. Anastassia preaching, with the All Souls choir.

March 24: “What You Don’t Know” The final book in the Harry Potter series is defined by what Harry and his friends don’t know. Nevertheless, they are required to act anyway. What they knew, forgot, and discover — love– ultimately saves them. Come and claims these lessons for activism and living life for yourself in the concluding Sunday of our Harry Potter series.