The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." [Matthew 6:21 and Albus Dumbledore]

For the past couple of Sundays I have been spending after-church fellowship time chatting with my favorite 10-year-old, Sophia, about Harry Potter. Sophia has seen the first four (I think?) Harry Potter films, and is just now old enough (according to her Mom) to start reading the books. As of last week, she's about halfway through book two, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

This, alone, causes me great joy.

When the books first came out in the US, I was 11. So was Harry. (My life is so perfect sometimes.) Since I read book one way back in 5th grade, I have had this deep, visceral connection to these stories. The final film hits theaters in July of this year. Every year since 1999 (yikes bikes) there has been a book on its way to my hands each summer or a film on its way to theaters each fall. This July marks the end of an era. My generation (I'd say those between 20 and 30 years old, these days) were the original target market, and are now the most intense superfans of the series.

It is heartwarming, then, to encounter Sophia, who is just now embarking on what has been the greatest literary joy of my life, and what I hopehopehopehopehope will be hers.

There is a specific point to this post, other than just general Harry Potter fandom. Last week, Sophia asked me what I thought the moral of Harry Potter was. I smiled, and started to answer, but she stopped me. She said, "I think the moral of Harry Potter is that, even when no one believes in you, you should believe in yourself." I congratulated her on getting that out of it, because that's exactly right. And she even continued, saying, "Also, it's that your friends and your family are the most important ever. And that good guys always win over bad guys." I agreed. I started to say something about loyalty and courage and she added, "Except I don't really know about Snape. He seems like maybe a good guy, maybe a bad guy."

I can hardly describe my elation. To be in the midst of the epic journey that is the life of Harry, Ron, and Hermione is a state to which I wish I could return. Certainly I reread the books with regularity and fall straight back into being fully engrossed in their world. But sometimes I wish I was still learning. Sometimes I wish I was still holding my breath until everyone made it out of a situation alive. Or didn't.

There are many things that make me anxious about future generations. But if there are even just a few more Sophias out there, I think it's going to be all right.

Today, I am amazed.

Today is the day.