Even Though We Don't Deserve It
In one way or another I have been writing these devotionals for about 7 months. While they haven’t been coming out every week as I had originally hoped, I’ve kept things relatively consistent. And so it really is amazing that in the semi-consistent production of these devotional emails over the past 7 months I haven’t once drawn an illustration from the Harry Potter books or movies.
I’m still not sure if this is an accomplishment or just a complete oversight on my part, either way the Harry Potter drought ends today. If Harry Potter isn’t your thing, and you were content with my lack of Harry Potter references in these devotionals you can blame the gathering I went to last week for Pastors in our conference.
Last Thursday night there was an informal gathering for local Lutheran pastors to simply get together and get to know each other a little better. And you should know that a funny thing happens when Pastors get together. It doesn’t necessarily happen right away, but, inevitably we will end up discussing the theological implications of different movies, books, video games, current events, and whatever else has caught our attention.
And sure enough, last Thursday, I overheard a group of pastors talking about the theological differences that exist when you compare the Harry Potter books to the film adaptations. I know, I know, fascinating stuff…
But hear me out, one colleague brought up a great point about a major difference between the final film and the final book. First, a little background, at one point in the very first Harry Potter book the Headmaster of Hogwarts (a school for young witches and wizards) says to Harry, “help will always be given at Hogwarts for those who ask for it.”
However, in the final Harry Potter film (and this doesn’t happen in the books) Dumbledore is again talking to Harry and he references his conversation with Harry saying, “I think I would amend my statement a bit, help is always given at Hogwarts to those who deserve it.”
And here friends, is what we would call the theological rub-- is help given to those who ask for it? Or is it just given to those who deserve it? And what if we apply this logic to our relationship with God? Does God give help to those who need it? or just to those who deserve it?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.“ Ephesians 2:8-9
The scriptures are clear: God’s grace is something freely given to us. The promises of God, the love and presence and support and help from God, comes to us not because we have done enough to deserve it, not even because we have asked for it, but simply because our loving God has freely given it to us.
May we know that our God loves us always, even if we don’t deserve it. Amen.