Feeding the Multitudes and Harry Potter
You know this story well. Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Mary Ann Welch draws on the banquet scene as an introduction to a discussion of the four Gospel versions of the feeding of the multitudes.
The Feast of Abundance
Topic for Conversation: God’s extravagant abundance
Age group/intended group for discussion: Adult Sunday school or Bible study
Time frame: 45-60 minutes
Film (Title, year, director, availability – sources and formats):
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
- Director—Chris Columbus
- DVD, Blu-ray, streaming (i.e. Netflix, Amazon.com, etc.)
Scene(s) to use: View Chapter 13
- Description of scene(s): The scene begins with Professor McGonagall tapping on her water glass to get everyone’s attention. Professor Dumbledore proclaims “Let the feast begin.” Instantly, mountains of food appear before the amazed students. We hear bits and pieces of conversations between students, including a conversation between Harry and Percy Weasley (older brother of Ron). End the clip when the ghost of Sir Nicholas appears in the middle of a platter of chicken and says “Welcome to Gryffindor!”
How to set up clip viewing: Harry Potter has grown up in his aunt and uncle’s house. They do not disguise their dislike of Harry who must sleep in a closet under the stairs and must serve his aunt, uncle and cousin. On his 11th birthday, Harry learns that he is a wizard, the son of a witch and wizard who died fighting an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort. Now Harry is at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. The new students are sorted into “houses” and the feast begins.
View the clip
Theological conversation after viewing:
- Encourage the participants to comment on the feast. What about it grabbed their attention? Note the variety and quantity of food that appears before the students. What is the students’ reaction to the banquet? What do you think happened to the leftovers when the students finished eating?
- Divide the participants into four groups. Assign each group an account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand (Matthew 14:12-21; Mark 6:34-44; Luke 9:10-17; and John 6:5-13).
- On the chalkboard/white board/sheets of newsprint, make a chart similar to the following:
Matthew 14: 12-21
|Who is present?|
|Where are they?|
|Who first mentions the need for food?|
|Who supplies the food? What is the food that is available?|
|Does Jesus suggest/ask or instruct/command the disciples to feed the crowd?|
|What are Jesus’ actions?|
|What happens regarding the leftovers after the feast?|
The accounts are not identical, so the groups may not find all the answers.
- After the groups have worked (minimum 10 minutes), call the participants back together and complete the chart as the groups report their findings.
- What do the accounts of the Feeding of the Five Thousand say about God’s abundance?
Close the session:
- What is our role as disciples in response to God’s abundance?
- Where is your life, the lives of others, or the world around us do you see evidence of God’s abundance?
- Close with prayer.