Where your Treasure is

…there will your heart be also.

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsThe cynical mind ponders the question, ‘Do most people come across this phrase in Luke’s Gospel 12:34 or in Chapter 16, entitled ‘Godrick’s Hollow’ of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? I suppose it will be one of those really annoying pub quiz questions one day where a simple looking question turns out to be a stinker.

In Chapter 16, Harry and Herminone are in Godrick’s Hollow looking for something to finish off the evil Lord Voldemort.  Although they are presently searching for the sword of Godrick Griffindor, their quest takes them on a journey around the country not knowing what it is they are looking for, nor where it can be found.  They come to the grave of Kendra and Ariana Dumbledore under the names is printed ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’.  The phrase means nothing to Harry or Herminone either.  If only they had read Luke 12:34.

What is it that we treasure so much, that our heart is there also.  We can certainly amass many worldly treasures, but it seems those things which are most desirable are out of stock!  Take this list for example, (thanks to JD!)

We can buy a bed, but not the dreams;
the books, but not the intelligence to read or understand them;
food, but no appetite to enjoy it;
adornments, but not beauty;
medicines, but not health;
entertainment, but not fun;
a crucifix, but not a Saviour.

The important part of each of these is the part which is unable to be bought.

It is the strange phenomenon of the English language that there is no conjugation of verbs and the personal pronoun indicates the person concerned with the verb.  It is perhaps the nature of our individualistic society which suggests that this must (of course, who would question it) be singular, I the individual, My treasure.  Is it not the individual who is always the target of the television adverts.  How can I be made to look younger?  Which car will give Me the status I crave?  Individual, personal desires are targeted, for that is where we can become weak and needy, bending to the will of those who would tempt us.  Resist!!  It is also the fallacy that faith is an individual thing.  Popular Christian teaching takes on this mantra suggesting that the personal relationship is the most important thing, but where are we left if we are on our own?  Church is reduced to nothing but a place to bolster the ego if it becomes the pursuit of the individual.

Silence and Honey Cakes“Our life and our death is with our neighbour…” said the Desert Fathers. Were we not baptised into a Church, a universal church of millions and of the saints who have gone before us?  It is perhaps the arrogance to assume that our understanding of the English text is complete, however, the Greek text is illuminating, it so happens that it is the plural form of the verb.  That changes the meaning of the phrase drastically.  Now we are seeking a treasure which is both yours and mine, and if we find it we find a common heart.  What if we seek the treasure of all those gathered in one place?  What is the treasure of our village?  The treasure of our nation even?  Are we so blinded by the individual life that we forget to search out others, to know their minds and to engage the hearts of all?  I have no answers to what the treasure of us all is, it is for each of us to discover.  To spend time in the company of neighbours and friends to find the common treasure which is the path to life.  Harry, Hermione and Ron in the Deathly Hallows find the common treasure, they are united by their desire for freedom from oppression, from hatred, from all that is evil and they overcome it, not individually, but together.  So must we strive for the kingdom, ‘for we know not the hour…’

For Further reading: Where your Treasure is:  Psalms that Summon you from Self to Community by Eugene H. Peterson

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