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Harry Potter was ever in the public eye. Everyone treated him differently because they knew who he was, some better and some worse. There are many characters in Rowling’s books that barely get noticed at all. Ron and Hermione get quite a bit of attention, partly reflected, as do his most notable rivals. We meet Luna Lovegood, but she is far from featured. But what of all those other Griffindor students, or even more obscure, the Hufflepuffs? There are far more characters who could use a little bit of visibility in this and in every story. I don’t mean to suggest that an author try to reveal every character in every book. There are millions of people out there who would like their invisibility cloaks removed, if only for a few moments.
There are many invisible people in the Bible. For instance the mothers of almost all those men named in the seemingly endless lists in Numbers. The women and children of those 5,000 men who were fed with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish, and those of the 4,ooo fed with 7 loaves and a few small fish were only visible as an afterthought, but not counted in the number of the miracle.
Just as Jesus was in need of invisibility in his early life, he chooses to whisk the cloak off many of the invisible people of his day; women, children, lepers, people with embarrassing health problems, the poor, the humble etc. He did this in a number of different ways;
healing physical problems that were causing the people to be overlooked or even shunned
making a point of speaking with someone
sharing a meal with someone
calling them by name
giving them his time and attention
Jesus drew away the cloak for the children in Matthew 9:14 when the disciples wanted to shoo them away and he told them instead to, “Let the little children come to me.” He was granting them his time and attention.
He drew the cloak away from the lepers he healed who would otherwise have lived their lives out in isolation. The man who couldn’t get to the healing waters before others had gotten there first was healed where he had been totally overlooked by everyone else. The woman who had been considered unclean for years due to constant bleeding was healed and thus allowed back into everyday lives of those whom she loved.
There were women to whom Jesus actually spoke, which really wasn’t common in the time. He spoke to a Samaritan woman at the well despite the stigma of her being Samaritan and having a reputation of being with many men.
We hear reports of Jesus speaking more than once with two sisters Mary, and Martha. He ate at their home, Mary sat at his feet and listened to his teaching and he even praised her for this choice. In fact, the names Mary and Martha are mentioned more times in the Bible than those of a some of the disciples.
Jesus ate meals with people who were not invisible but infamous. He ate with tax collectors like Zacchaeus who was reviled by his neighbours.
People will go to great lengths to be noticed. If you question this then I encourage you to watch some of the “reality” tv shows. People need love and belonging and would rather get negative attention than no attention. To get their “ten minutes of fame” some people even commit violent acts which then result in their imprisonment for life. For a few days, or months though everyone knew their name.
Do you remember the old tv show Cheers? The theme song for that show said, “You wanna be where everybody knows your name.” We can all do something to remove somebody’s invisibility cloak for a moment. Follow Jesus’ example. We may not be able to heal their physical ailments but surely we can make a point of speaking to someone who seems left out. We can learn people’s names and then using it when you greet them. Maybe instead of grabbing your lunch or coffee and running you might choose to take the time to sit down with someone to share the meal.
Thanks to SarahKristin’sphotostream for the picture of Luna http://www.flickr.com/photos/35643800@N05/with/4703546529/
Harry Potter, the now famous young wizard from the books of J.K.Rowling, had a problem. Because of a scar earned as a young child, anywhere he went he was recognized. One of his great assets in the series was a gift he received, an invisibility cloak. With this he and his friends passed unseen into places of great danger and eluded even the most astute of older wizards.
If you follow my blog you will know that I have been musing on the issue of visibility or lack there-of lately. It would seem that we are either too visible, like Harry, and wish for a break, or we are invisible and receive no notice at all. Today I’m going to focus on the folks who could make good use of Harry’s cloak.
I think that there are two groups of people today who would benefit from a little invisibility. The first group, with whom I’m not entirely sure I sympathize, would be the people who either are born into famous families or have worked their whole lives in order to be famous. Once they gain that kind of notoriety, I think many people become victims of their own success. The constant press presence and public interest wear on them and it is almost impossible to get away and just live their lives.
The second group is those people who become known to be giving and caring. These people become magnets for people who are struggling in their lives and find it almost impossible to turn anyone away. Over time, this becomes overwhelming. They become exhausted both physically and emotionally and at some point become unable to continue giving. Those who recover from this burnout are those who manage to carve out a time out for themselves, which often involves going away, or turning off the phones, Facebook, and email for periods of time.
Jesus was God incarnate. The very God who created all that is and was came and lived among us. If anybody ever needed an invisibility cloak it was him. Jesus’ cloak came in the form of simple parents, an unremarkable birthplace (unless remarkable for its unsuitability), life as a refugee, and growing up in a fairly rural location. He didn’t get a high-powered career he trained with his father as a carpenter. When he began to gather followers he didn’t head to the Temple, he stopped by the fishing villages and picked up more common, invisible men.
It wasn’t until his ministry took off and was including healings that these cloaks began to slip off, and even then he was still trying to stay off the radar by asking people not to tell about his miraculous works etc. When Jesus was overwhelmed he went away to a quiet place, often a garden or mountain area, to pray. If you know someone who really needs an invisibility cloak, help them to get some time away. They may choose to pray, meditate, or just do something they enjoy, but when they recharge they will be ready to get back to their normal selves.
Today was Good Friday. Depending on the way you view the liturgical calendar Lent either ended last night or tomorrow, the day before Easter. This leads to my quandary of the day…do I go back on Facebook and Twitter?
If you count Sundays, I have not logged on to my FB and Twitter accounts now for 45 or 46 days. In some way I didn’t really miss it. I didn’t feel tempted to log on. I took them off my home page list on my browsers and my BlackBerry and I guess the old out-of-sight out-of-mind thing works. On the other hand I had many bouts of feeling isolated which I can only attribute to that lack of interaction which comes from at least keeping up with the doings of my friends.
Did I make use of the time I saved and the loss of distraction throughout Lent in order to spend more time in prayer, study and reflection on God? I did a really good job of it for a while at least. I did, as I planned, spend more time reading books and doing cross word puzzles. I completed my on-line course and prepared two services. I’m really glad I decided to make this sacrifice and it is really hard to believe it has really been so long.
How did you make out? Did you give something up for Lent? However we spent Lent, Sunday morning it is time to celebrate the risen Christ. Sing songs! Shout hosannas! Give thanks that God has given this amazing free gift to all of us!
Lent begins tomorrow and I am going to be off facebook until Easter. If you need to get in touch with me send me an email.
Earlier today I put the above note up on my Facebook page to let my friends know that I would be “away” from FB until after Easter. I then removed FB, Twitter and Goodreads from my home page tabs. I got this idea from a blog I read yesterday about Lent at http://denimdevotion.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/its-coming/ I have tried fasting for Lent in the past but I ended up getting sick so I am leery of doing that again. I liked this idea.
I’m obviously not eliminating computers altogether from my life for the time between tomorrow and Easter. I use my computer every day for work, for teaching, recording grades, recording attendance, etc. I am also taking an online course right now so I will need to be online and on the computer for that, and for doing my blog.
The point of “giving something up for Lent” is to move the focus from whatever clutter usually takes it and on to the word of God, and the life and ministry of Jesus. Of all the things that take my attention I think the computer, and especially social media, are the biggest. I even read the Bible online now. So I’ll dig out my real paper Bible, my pens and pencils, my books to read, and even my crossword puzzle books for the next five weeks.
Have you considered a change in focus for your Lenten season this year? When I was younger I remember kids saying they were giving up things like spinach (which they didn’t eat anyway) and thinking that it was a silly idea. So what distracts you? Don’t look for something that will make you suffer, that isn’t the point. Don’t choose something that will make it impossible to do your job or meet commitments that you need to meet. You may want to choose a little extravagance like that daily Starbucks coffee and put the money you save in your church offering plate or give it to a charity.