United | Harry Potter is a great story that reminds us “how evil Evil is” – as Christian singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson put it . In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, three wizarding schools – represented by their chosen champions – compete for prize money and a trophy. At the end, however, just as two champions simultaneously grab the trophy, Lord Voldemort – the most powerful Dark wizard in history, who up until this moment has been merely a rumor – appears. He kills one champion, but Harry escapes. Voldemort once again disappears into the darkness and the head of Harry’s wizarding school, Dumbledore, gathers all three schools together for an address. Although they had been competitors throughout the tournament, he encourages them to stand united:
“Every guest in this Hall,” said Dumbledore … “will be welcomed back here at any time, should they wish to come. I say to you all, once again – in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open” .
Enemy | As the Church, our differences of worship styles and denominations are nothing at all since our aims are identical and our hearts are open. We have a common enemy – the Evil One. As Paul reminded the Ephesians, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” . His gift for spreading discord and enmity is great and, therefore, we must stand firm – in truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word, prayer, readiness, perseverance and boldness .
Prayer | Lord, Jesus prayed that we would be one, as the Father and the Son are one . Let us, therefore, not argue with one another about non-essential things. Instead, remind us how evil Evil is and how important it is for us to put on the armor of faith. Give us sensitivity to the presence of evil, especially when discord and enmity spread among us. Root us in the Word, prayer and community, as we continually exhort one another toward love and good works. Amen.