August 24th, 2013| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Someone called it “PHPS”—Post Harry Potter Syndrome. Many are afflicted, me included. We want more from JKR. But alas, what we have is what we have—HPI through HPVII.

But take heart. There is more. In fact, we Muggles can now actually go to Diagon Alley from the comfort of your bedroom, and in your PJs, if you wish.

Nope, you don’t need to go to Orlando (to see The Wizarding World of HP) or to Leavesden, U.K. (to take in the Harry Potter Studio Tour). Nope, no need for all that trouble.

Fix yourself some butterbeer, grab some peppermint toads, and click.

Just go to Google Maps and look at the Street View of Diagon Alley. Yup, it’s all there: Ollivander’s Wand Shop, the Leaky Cauldron, Slug & Jiggers apothecary, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and Flourish and Blotts bookshop, among other fascinating strip-mall occupiers in this imaginary world. All there for you to navigate along, treading those cobblestones underfoot.

The place is actually real, and took six months to create. All eight of the HP movies’ scenes set in Diagon Alley were shot here. Now Google has given us the Street View of those sets, for us to spend hours ambling along, window-shopping. What fun.

An entirely imaginary world. In 360º, glorious color, meticulous detail.

(Wonder what Harry, Ron, and Hermione could have done with Google Maps. How would the story have been different if they never got lost?)

In April, even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with Prince Harry, paid the actual street sets a visit. Now it’s our turn.

An imaginary world.

This is not the first time Google Maps’ Street View has provided us with some unusual locations. There’s the Amazon jungle and, recently, also Battleship Island—the real-life location that inspired the island hideway in the James Bond movie Skyfall.

But Diagon Alley is the first fictional location to be added.

An imaginary world.

Scripture also portrays a world, giving us “Street Views,” passage by passage. This world is the world that God would have, his ideal world. And text by text we are told what are the rules that govern that world (its precepts), the things that matter in that world (its priorities), and the actions that occur in that world (its practices). And as each text of the Bible is preached, Christians are being invited by God not only to gaze at the Street View but actually to inhabit that world, by aligning our lives with its precepts, priorities, and practices.

Thus, week by week, text by text, sermon by sermon, God’s people progressively inhabit his ideal world more and more (assuming we apply the text to our lives). In a sense, bit by bit God’s kingdom is coming to pass on earth! It’s becoming more and more real.

It’s not yet real. It’s not yet here. Rather, it is a world that should be and would be, were God’s people to align their lives to it: in a sense, an eschatological world, a future world, a coming world, soon and very soon.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth ….
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men,
and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people,
and God Himself will be among them,
and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes;
and there will no longer be any death;
there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain;
the first things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:1, 3–4

The new world. God’s world. The real world.

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