However, I have wanted to share some ideas about Harry Potter for a while and this seemed a good opportunity. You can read the entire sermon by clicking on the link at the end.
One thing that didn’t make it in the sermon however is the connection I see with Ash Wednesday. Harry Potter is forever marked by his encounter with Voldemort with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead. Initially others think that Harry must have great power to somehow defeat Voldemort even though he was just a baby at the time, and his scar must be proof of that power. Harry learns though that the lightning bolt on his forehead is not the result of his own power but is a mark left when his mother gives her life to save his. Her love results in Voldemort’s defeat and Harry carries a constant reminder of her love.
In baptism we are marked with the sign of the cross on our foreheads. This is an invisible sign of God’s saving love for us, that through baptism we are raised into new life with Christ who has overcome death in his death and resurrection. That symbol of the cross drawn on our foreheads (and often on babies) shows that it isn't by our own power that our sins are forgiven, but by Christ’s power.
Ash Wednesday is that it is the one day of the year when that mark is visible to world. That ashy, smudgy, cross-shaped mark says to the world that death has been defeated! Like Harry Potter walking around with his lightning bolt, I have a cross that says to the world “It isn’t me or my power, but someone loved me enough to die to save me.” The love of Harry’s mother for him was special and unique – and created a unique situation that saved Harry from certain evil and death. However, for us, we live in a paradox. We are also unique, loved individually by God. But unlike Harry, God’s amazing love is available to all – each and every one of us.