Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ron Weasley, St. Peter, & Me

I like Harry Potter. I really do. But I have a soft spot in my heart for Ron Weasley.

I recognize the Weasley clan. I come from one much like it. “More kids than money,” my mother used to say. Rowdy and boisterous, if we weren’t teasing each other unmercifully, we were challenging each other. My parents were a lot like Molly and Arthur, too: Mom tried to keep us and the house in order while Dad worked hard and was often interested in our escapades.

Yet, the Weasleys are incredibly loyal to each other and to those they’ve “adopted” into the family, which includes just about anyone who has walked through the door. Fred and George may hector Ron unmercifully, but do not allow anyone else to bully him. Ron protects Ginny, Harry, and Hermione with his life. He may not like where Harry is taking him, but he follows because Harry is his friend. Harry needs his help and this is what friends—and family—do.

Ron is beset with insecurity. He is either throwing up in the bathroom or exaggerating his exploits. He doesn’t seem to have any natural gifts, except, possibly, for Wizards’ Chess: he’s neither a natural flyer like Harry nor an intellectual like Hermione. He’s hot-tempered, which gets him into trouble, especially with Malfoy. Of the three (four, if you count Ginny), Ron seems the least likely to be destined for greatness, and I think he knows it.

Yeah, I identify with that, even though I’m the oldest child, rather than #6.

Yet, out of all the students at Hogwarts, Harry chose him as a best friend and has stuck with him for six years.

Simon Peter wasn’t the brightest apostle of the bunch—that would probably be Matthew or John the Evangelist. He was impulsive: he sees Jesus walking across the water and jumps out of the boat to greet Him. Halfway there, his insecurities take over and Peter begins to sink. Peter is emphatic that he will never deny his Lord, but when confronted, he denies Him. Peter was hot-headed, too. Although Matthew doesn’t say, I’ve always thought it was Peter who cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant—that seems like something Peter would do.

Yet it is Peter that Jesus chooses to lead His Church. When there is a debate on whether Gentiles can become members or if they must become Jews first, the other Apostles turn to Peter for the decision. When Peter is again given the choice to deny Jesus, he gives up his life instead. He has learned from his mistake.

The tone of his Epistles seems to reflect certain humility of spirit. In his first letter, Peter speaks of the power of love and obedience; in the second he speaks of the dangers of false prophets and teachers and that the day of the Second Coming is unknown. In these, Peter sounds more like Dumbledore than Ron, reflecting the maturity that comes with age and experience.

In Peter, I recognize the journey I am making. God did not knock me off my horse on the way to Damascus. Rather, He persistently and insistently asks me to feed his lambs, much like Jesus kept asking Peter. Like Peter, I struggle with trusting completely and my insecurities. I am not a brilliant theological Teacher or Doctor of the Church. My message is delivered to a much smaller audience and it is “Love” and “Obedience.” (I struggle with the “Obedience” part, too.)

Like Ron, like Peter, I’m not the main act. I’m just a supporting player.