When my kids were younger, we all got excited when a new Harry Potter book came out. We read them all. One time we bought two of the same book because my son was going to take one to camp and the rest of us did not want to wait for him to come home to read the book ourselves. Why do we like the books so much? Like everyone else, there is a sense of good versus evil, teen angst, heroic action, wise lessons, and interesting characters. I’m sure each of us has their own particular character they like. But one of them isn’t Snape. Snape is a dark character who was once a follower of the evil Voldemort, but who redeemed himself and became one of Harry’s teachers. Snape and Harry did not get along. Snape resented Harry and treated him with contempt. We don’t know why really until Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. While Harry never knew his parents, he has held them in the highest esteem, and so do we. But then we find out that Harry’s father, James, was actually a bully. This is revealed to Harry, and us, in a scene that describes the complete humiliation of Snape by Harry’s father, for no other reason than James’ personal entertainment. What?!!! When I read that scene for the first time, I was appalled. This cannot be Harry’s beloved and esteemed father! James would do nothing like that! But he did. It actually made me sad. Of course, Harry Potter is fiction. But haven’t we all witnessed something like that in real life? When we see or hear someone we hold in high esteem say or do something that shocks us and maybe makes us gasp? How do we explain it? This week’s scripture reading has something like that in it. Come and hear about it when Pastor Jeff preaches “A Helping Hand” based on Mark 7: 24-30. We will look forward to seeing you.