Theme: Spiritual Warfare
Bible refs: Ephesians 6 vv 10 –18; Matthew 21 vv 28-31
Similar clips: Commando – Getting Tooled Up For Life
Location of clip: 1 hr 55 mins and 4 secs to 1 hr 57 mins and 8 secs
Harry Potter’s 3rd year at Hogwarts begins when he runs away from the Dursleys. He’s reunited with Hermione and the Weasleys at the Leaky Cauldron where he learns he is the likely target of dangerous escaped prisoner Sirius Black. Sirius is a highly dangerous mass murderer who has escaped from Azkaban Prison. Dementers are dispatched to the school to protect the place, but these too bring with them darkness and danger. Harry must eventually face Sirius and learn more of the truth of his own past.
This is the final climax of the movie. Harry and Hermione have travelled back in time and Harry is now watching himself trying to protect Sirius Black from the Dementers. He sees himself struggling but knows that soon his father will come out of the trees and help him ward off the bad guys. But his father does not appear and slowly the truth dawns. It wasn’t his father at all. He saw himself. He is the one. He must walk out and do battle, and because he has seen himself do this already he knows he has the power. He steps out of the trees, raises his wand and wards off the evil.
Harry’s battle with the Dementers conjures up a vivid image of spiritual warfare. He stands by the lake and battles evil, standing up against the dark forces that are attacking his friend.
But what is spiritual warfare? Paul writes about us battling not just against this world, but an unseen one too. We often think of that battle in terms of singing hymns and songs, holding worship services and praying. But the armour that Paul talks about is very practical. It’s about tools to get us through the battle of daily life. Jesus himself told a story about two boys, in Matthew 21, effectively saying it’s not what you say that matters – it’s what you do. Surely caring for others, welcoming strangers, standing up for truth and justice, looking after the poor, being a voice for the voiceless – surely all of that is spiritual warfare. We are fighting for a different world, standing for a different way of life. Even a smile can be spiritual warfare when it’s given to the downtrodden, the rejected, the unlovable. When we look at Jesus’s life there’s no doubt that the way he battled the dark kingdom was by bringing light through what he said and did. Noah fought the encroaching darkness by obeying a strange commission to build a boat. Moses fought Egyptian oppression by entering into dangerous politics. Paul’s call to arms is very practical. Sometimes spiritual warfare conducted just through inclusive meetings can lead to a siege mentality, Christians having to bolster themselves up for the battle outside. But we must be careful of that, it make us defensive and aggressive – let’s be open to others, not defensive, let’s love fiercely, let’s put our energy into courageous compassion and kindness.
In the Old Testament God often reminds the people that the worship he wants is expressed through kindness, justice, mercy and humility, along with practical help for the weak and helpless. In an age where the rich and famous and powerful are upheld – surely this is spiritual warfare on the frontline.
1. The thought of spiritual warfare can be frightening – how do you feel
2. Not very much is prescribed in the Bible on the hows and whys of this subject. What do you know of the Bible’s take on all this?
3. How difficult is it to strike a balance between being aware of the spiritual battle, and recognising that all of us have struggles in life?
4. Are there battles your facing now which you need to talk to God about?
5. Did the clip make you think about anything else?