Sorry, Reader; end of fiscal year + end of summer term + sermon writing for Sunday = late post.
So if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, I apologize right off for how many references this post is going to have that you won’t understand. I am definitely part of the generation that grew up with Harry, so my geekery is pretty strong for that. This past week, new information came out about the North American school (since Hogwarts, where Harry goes, is in Britain and we can’t all go to Britain) Ilvermorny.
Now if you don’t know, Hogwarts has four houses (since it’s a boarding school) and each new student is sorted into one based on his/her personal characteristics. Ravenclaws are generally The Smart Kids; Slytherins are generally The Cunning Kids; Hufflepuffs are The Loyal Kids; and Gryffindors are The Brave Kids. Of course each house has its downsides as well as its lauded attributes, but we fans have for years aligned ourselves via various online quizzes with our own houses. I consistently get Sorted (that’s the choosing process; it’s done by a hat and you seriously need to read this series if you haven’t, Reader) into Gryffindor, which always surprises me. I think I’ve said it before, but I’d consider myself brainy way before I’d consider myself brave.
Wait, what? I’m not adventurous any more than I am brave.
Yet for all my introspection, I’m apparently not paying attention to myself at all. I had lunch Friday with my friend Prudence and had an incredible conversation with him about who we are and who we’re going to be as our lives are no longer intertwined with my moving and whatnot. He’s a beautiful soul, but he’s also a guy who told me I was brave probably five times over the course of the conversation. And people regularly tell me I’m adventurous, what with wandering off to Scotland without a whole lot of preparation or driving all over the country for weddings or wading into Church politics.
But the thing of it is that none of that is my natural inclination. All of that comes out of leaping into the places God pushes me.
People have been joking with me about my going off to seminary and how the location and requirements are going to be outside of my comfort zone and I want to say to them that every time I leave my apartment I have left my comfort zone. My comfort zone is my church and my house and that’s about it, and even those are negotiable to a certain extent. But God continually calls me to more than those to places—and to crazy things within those two places. Interpreter talks sometimes about God’s desire to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” so it makes perfect sense in its own way that God challenges me over and over to go into the world that doesn’t make sense, that is filled with heartbreaking things, that both frightens and depresses the crickets out of me. We as Christians are not called to be afraid of the dark but to bring the light to a shadowed world—and that takes a shit ton of bravery and no small amount of adventurousness.
This isn’t to say that the other houses, either American or British, are less than Gryffindor or Thunderbird. It is, however, to say that I am not in either because I am inherently brave or adventurous. I am in these (make-believe though they are) because I am being changed, I have been changed by a God Who needs me to be brave and adventurous in order to do whatever She has in mind for me. I don’t know what that is—oh, how I wish I did!—but I do know that wherever I am sent, I will be equipped. Whatever courage I need will be given; whatever shape my spirit needs to be in will be remolded. And slowly, slowly I will take on these attributes so they are who I am, so that they do become my response because I have been cheering for my House long enough that I mean it and can see those aspects of me in Christ’s service.
The next thing, of course, is to campaign for actual house competitions. What house are you, Reader? (Of either country.) What attributes does that give you? How does it—or doesn’t it—surprise you? How do you translate that strength into God’s service? I would love to know. After all, lions are just big cats, and cats are curious creatures.