Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium

I am watching this film as I start typing this post, which is fun and light-hearted, and Christmassy, but there was one comment or quote that stuck out for me.

Molly Mahoney is talking to a new accountant, and tells him "you are a 'just' person. This is 'just' a store, that is 'just' a tree, or 'just' a bench." (the quote is not exact, but that is the essence). It struck me as an interesting description of someone.

I think a lot of people are 'just' people - all they see is the physical world, the practical aspects. They miss the wonder, the beauty, the divine in the reality.

Let me take an example from church life - communion. There are a number of different interpretations of the communion elements, from being the actual body and blood of Jesus to being simply bread and wine used to represent these. I am on the latter side quite strongly. In truth, I tend towards saying that they are 'just' ordinary bread and wine.

And yet, when taken in context, they are a representation of something else. They may be, to all common chemical analysis, the same bread and wine you might eat the rest of the week, but they are there are something to represent a greater reality, a greater truth.

I don't go all mystical about it - the idea that they actually transform into something else is, for me, ridiculous. I could take them and find that their composition shows them clearly to be bread and wine. But, as I take them, THIS piece of bread is, for me, Jesus body; THIS sip of wine is, for me, his blood. They are symbols of something else, something more. They are not 'just' bread and wine - they are bread and wine and meaning.

It is the same idea when people say the church is 'just' a building, or even 'just' a group of people. Or an internet site is 'just' a discussion board. Yes, they are those things, but they can represent something more, something with significance. In the end, there is no reason I should meet with God more in one place than another, but I do. There are places where that touching the spiritual, engaging with something more, happens more easily. There are discussions that take place online that are important, significant.

This presents two problems: Firstly, 'just' people miss out on the wonder that there is. They so often see places in simple terms - windy, cold, ripe for development. They miss seeing the beauty, the spirituality, the other about things, people, places. I feel sorry for them actually, because it must be like seeing everything in black and white, and missing all of the colour.

Secondly, 'just' people tend to destroy the important places and things. If it is 'just' a tree, it doesn't really matter if it has to go. If it is a special tree for some people, then maybe it does, maybe it has more significance than other trees. Maybe it is important to save it. Maybe it cannot so easily be replaced.

No, I don't believe in magic as in this film. But I do believe that there is more than 'just' what we can see. And I believe that the more may be the most important parts.

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