1 Corinthians 13:11-12
My family loves the Harry Potter books. So it’s hard for me to read Paul’s words about putting away childish things and seeing through a mirror dimly without thinking of the Mirror of Erised (“desire” spelled backward), which reflects the desire of one’s heart. Harry can see his parents in it, back when they were healthy, happy, and alive. It’s hard for him to stop watching.
I understand. Last year a distant cousin posted a home movie from 1953—before home movies were common—that included my parents three months before they married. There they were! So young! So beautiful! Alive and healthy and happy. The film surfaced shortly after my dad died, and it was hard to stop watching.
Author J.K. Rowling says of the Mirror of Erised: “The advice to ‘hold on to your dreams’ is all well and good, but there comes a point when [it] becomes unhelpful and even unhealthy…. Life can pass you by while you are clinging on to a wish that can never be—or ought never to be—fulfilled” (Pottermore.com).
How and when do we cling to “childish things” in our churches? Do we embrace sentimental songs and scriptures without moving deeper into their challenge to live the way of Jesus more fully? Or do we dwell nostalgically on the times when the church was “great”—even though it was less inclusive of all of God’s children and failed to address abuse and injustice? The desire to become mature disciples involves seeking to see God’s dream for us more clearly, anticipating that day when we’ll see God face-to-face.
What “childish thing” would God have you put away? What “grown-up thing” could you replace it with?
God, help us to develop healthy relationships with our past, affirming what is helpful and casting off what is not, so that we may move into your future. Amen.