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Mudbloods and werewolves and traitors and thieves

Personal, Words

November 4, 2015

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“The elf took absolutely no notice of Harry and the rest. Acting as though it could not see them, it shuffled hunchbacked, slowly and doggedly, towards the far end of the room, all the while muttering under its breath in a hoarse, deep voice like a bullfrog’s.

‘…smells like a drain and a criminal to boot, but she’s no better, nasty old blood traitor with her brats messing up my Mistress’s house, oh, my poor Mistress, if she knew, if she knew the scum they’ve let in her house, what would she say to old Kreacher, oh, the shame of it, Mudbloods and werewolves and traitors and thieves, poor old Kreacher, what can he do…’ ”

This string of insults grabbed my attention as I was re-reading Harry Potter recently. The words make up a random little passage of no great importance to the story, but they made me smile for two reasons: they’re directed at the heroes of the story, and they’re all completely true.

For you sad Muggle readers not familiar with the story of Harry Potter, Kreacher, the character speaking, is a nasty little house elf who lives in the home where the good guys have made their headquarters. Kreacher hates the good guys, and wanders around muttering insults about them throughout the book. In this paragraph, he refers to four of them specifically: the ‘Mudblood’ Hermione Granger, a good witch whose parents were non-magical (and thus not “pure blooded”); Remus Lupin, a professor and protector of Harry who struggles with unwillingly transforming into a wolf when exposed to moonlight; Sirius Black, an escaped (and wrongfully accused) convict and traitor to his (evil) family; and Mundungus Fletcher, a black-market dealer of stolen cauldrons. To be fair, Kreacher could have added that the Weasley family is nearly broke, Harry is a half-trained orphaned child, and his best friend Ron is not the sharpest spoon in the drawer. This is no Avengers or A-team, no slightly dysfunctional team of superheroes; it is a ragtag bunch of misfits and teenagers. Yet rough and ragged as they are, each one of these characters plays a crucial role in saving the world from terrible evil.

I love this idea of unlikely heroes, and get this: the Bible tells us God loves it, too. He loves using the weak, the nobodies, and the sinners to do big, beautiful things in His kingdom. We could just as easily string together truthful insults about key heroes of the Bible: shepherds, prostitutes, fishermen, “ravagers” of the church. Seriously, look at Paul, or the artist formerly known as Saul:

“But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” Acts 8:3

That’s a strong word, ravaging––defined as “causing severe and extensive damage to” something. God later showed Saul the light, changed his name to Paul, and used him to write a sizable chunk of the Bible. This is hundreds of years after God chose a poor shepherd boy to become the second King of Israel, and shortly after Jesus came to earth and decided to walk around with smelly fishermen and shady tax collectors instead of kings or priests.

Mudbloods, werewolves, traitors, and thieves… are we anything more? Who among us has blood that is pure, noble and clean? Who can say he has never turned into a monster when darkness has fallen? Who has not turned traitor to our Father for an hour, a month, or a year? Who has not stolen glory and reverence from our King? I am certainly far from innocent.

Yet God loves all of us. He delights in us. He cleanses us through His blood and treats us as His children. And He lets even the worst of us play a part in His glorious plans.

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”

– 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

Happy [belated] Halloween, you filthy Mudbloods.

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