"Any perception can connect us to reality properly and fully. What we see doesn't have to be pretty, particularly; we can appreciate anything that exists. There is some principle of magic in everything, some living quality. Something living, something real, is taking place in everything."
*Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Sunday morning, early Worship Service, at the church sanctuary. As usual, I get there early, for some prayerful Silence. I genuflect at the side of the pew and toward the Altar, then sit, then kneel and pray. I raise myself up, and sit back down. In comes a family of four - dad, mom, adolescent girl of about age 15, younger girl about age 10. I have not seen them before.
Before the Eucharist, standing with others, I look down. The preadolescent is sitting, reading a Harry Potter book. I am intrigued, for I recognize an irony. I see a likeness, most persons might not see, and I would have missed years before: Harry Potter, Christ, Magic.
In a real sense, a lot of magic is represented in that "Christ" - bread and wine, priest and words, movements of body, assurance that somehow Christ becomes through this otherwise ordinary process - and "Harry Potter." I sensed the likeness was represented in the small girl engaging in the magic of Harry Potter, and our engaging in the magic of the Eucharistic rite.
Many would see this as an irreconcilable disparity, like opposites going in opposing directions unable to and never to meet. Many would be offended by my seeing a positive likeness and insightful harmony between these two apparently contradictory worlds: Christ, Harry Potter; Church rite, fiction; Body of Christ, book. And to use the word magic in reference to the Eucharist, or any Church ritual or rite, well, again, many would see that as blasphemous. But to all the above objections, I say, "No, not at all."
What is magic? Well, it can refer to use of ordinary means to effect an extra-ordinary happening. Is there not a marked likeness between the priest and his or her words of Eucharistic ritual and that of a magician who speaks incantations to effect a supra-ordinary manifestation of physical reality. Also, magic can speak of trickery. I have sensed, for some time, that "God" is the ultimate Trickster, in the best sense of that word. How about the virgin birth? How about the Passion of Christ? How about Jesus teaching we find our life by losing our life? How about him saying we die so live? Examples of holy trickery in the Gospels? And, more broadly, it seems Grace entails something very tricky. This seems much like the Buddhist idea that you work diligently to get to the other shore, and then see there has always been one shore. There is something innately tricky about Grace. We could claim that to be saved, born again, enlightened..., we have to be misled in the right direction by a Power and Intelligence misdirecting us to get us rightly directed. In an odd manner, I see we get saved, in a religious sense, to see we were already, always saved. This does not make sense, and that is partly why Grace is so amazing and confusing. In Grace, we need to let go and let the somewhat surprising, unexpected, unknown, and totally confusing happen.
I sense something precious about the little girl reading Harry Potter in church worship, while adults celebrate the Eucharist. I see children amazed by and attracted to the marvelous, the mysterious, and the power innate in Life to transform Reality through faith and skill, and, also, to see the enchanting in Life as It is, as Life presents Itself to us. As the above words of Trungpa Rinpoche witness, "Something living, something real, is taking place in everything." Here, around the Table of Christ, bread is bread, but more, and wine is wine, but more. Something is happening we cannot see, a Body is happening, a Christ within the bodies of the gathered across space and time. And possibly the transformation of Reality is really simply a seeing afresh, anew, again for the first time, again and again, what is and always has been. And, in this happening, we are led to see how precious is the gift to wonder and live in wonderment.