Millions lined up to get their magic this week. They stood in place until the stroke of midnight at which time the magic was released. It seems people want or need magic to give their lives …well, some magic. Harry Potter is the latest of a long line of Jacks who offer the world the hope of beanstalks. A world without beanstalks would be just a world full of bean patches. It seems mankind needs more.
Little would-be-wizards dressed in Harry Potter paraphernalia, witch hats, or spectacles were themselves a spectacle. Many Christians shake their heads at the sight. People have filled their magic needs in previous generations with dreams to change the world or just to escape it. Mien Kampf , was Black Magic if there ever was, and lines of brown- shirted children is much more frightening than anything that ever came out of Hogwart.
Then there is the book of Mormon. Millions of people line up every Sunday to receive another bowl of superstition. A man named Joseph Smith found tablets of gold which after being translated with magic spectacles disappeared leaving behind a tall tale that has become a talisman for a generations of broadly smiling missionaries. No one who ever read the Pearl of Great Price should criticize potter-mania.
Westerners are puzzled by the fury caused by rumors of Koran desecration. What most don’t realize is that to the Muslim, the Koran is more than a book; it is magic. Mohommet was said to be illiterate. While unable to read or write he wrote the Koran which is in Arabic superior to Shakespeare, wiser than Solomon, and better sounding than singing-angels. If you don’t get it, well, as they say, it’s magic. They also insist the Jesus never went to the cross but magically switched places at the last moment with some poor sap. Trying to talk to people who believe such stuff is difficult. They are under a kind of “spell.”
Christians, however, claim to have God’s word in the Bible and yet many of them will stand for hours to gaze at an acid and salt stain under a highway overpass convinced they can see God (or at least the Mother of God). Such a claim makes a Muslim’s eyes roll. Christians claim to have God’s word but seldom read it, let alone obey it. It can often be found on coffee tables containing locks of hair, photos and other family mementos. Christians claim to have God’s word which many hold on to as a license or moral talisman like a Tetzel indulgence as they indulge in an orgy of excess or dance before the golden calfs of western decadence.
In Acts believers burned all the magic books. For me the Bible is not a magic book, nor is it a religious mirage of some eternal oasis off shimmering in the distance. The Bible is a miracle of words uttered by God who made us on purpose for His (not our) pleasure. The Bible is a light written by One who is the Light. The Bible is the story of the greatest love, offers the greatest hope, and describes the greatest home in a place called heaven. But the Bible is also the greatest help for the greatest place called “here,” and for the greatest time in the time called “now.” The Bible is the greatest book. It cannot be destroyed. I, along with millions of other believers, got in line early this morning just to get another glimpse at the Author and to read a few lines. Perhaps you were in line also. Getting in line for it is not as important as getting in line with it. We must do both. I know the world thinks we are crazy, but Oh, it is so good.