I think my favorite Harry Potter movie scenes occur in the very first film The Sorcerer’s Stone. Harry who is being raised by his Aunt and Uncle the Dursley’s who mistreat him and really want nothing to do with him, are horrified when letters start appearing addressed to young Harry himself. In trying to prevent him from receiving and opening the letters they steal him away to a remote island with their spoiled son Dudley and that’s where the most poignant and fun scenes take place.
Harry is awake late at night, sleeping on the floor of course, and he draws a birthday cake in the dust with eleven candles. At the stroke of midnight he says “Happy Birthday Harry” and then blows out his candles and the dust flies away. You heart goes out to the boy who has been abused and forced to live in a closet under the stairs. When suddenly there is a great in breaking and the door of the cottage is smashed by the Giant Hagrid who has come to rescue Harry and personally deliver the letter which invites him to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a school he is entitled to go to because of who he truly is; the son of a witch and wizard.Hagrid not only shuts the Dursley’s up and does a bit of fun magic himself, he gives Harry a real birthday cake with pink icing and his name on it.
I believe the two cakes juxtaposed in this manner are wonderful metaphors for the two worlds of Harry Potter. The two dimensional dust cake is symbolic of the the world he has inhabited with the Dursley’s; gray, tasteless, unappetizing, with no nourishment in it. The pink cake on the other hand is the invitation into the life and world he was originally intended to inhabit before it was stolen by the evil Voldermort who murdered his parents. The cake is three dimensional, beautiful, tasty, aromatic, filled with flavor and to Harry must have seemed well…..magical.
Now let’s look at this in a different way, what if the dust cake is symbolic of the Old Creation (Genesis 3:19 …for dust you are and to dust you will return.) while the pink cake with all its dimensions and taste and nourishment is New Creation. Now read the first words Jesus proclaimed in our earliest gospel Mark 1:15….”The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel”. What is he saying here? What is the in breaking he is talking about? What is the invitation he is offering? It is to life as it was originally intended by God the Father to be…in all of its beauty, magic, taste, with dimensions, so many we cannot even imagine. It is to life with him in His presence, an eternal life which death cannot destroy. Jesus is offering the Kingdom of God because he is the King. Jesus is offering Himself.
I am afraid many Christians read this verse and like Harry with his dust cake think of it rather wistfully. Yes that would be nice, maybe someday he will return….I have repented and I will see him when I die…but for now I am living in my little closet under the stairs and its rather well……. dusty. How tragic when we reduce the gospel to this and choose to live an old creation life when the Kingdom is offered.
Dust cake or Pink cake?
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8