Daily Devotional for Thursday July 17, 2003


( Deuteronomy 18:10-12 )


Harry was walking back to Gryffndor House with Ron and Hermione after leading his Quidditch team to another victory. They were talking about their Potions class when Hedwig appeared with a note. "Who is it from?" Ron asked. "Hagrid," Harry replied. "He says that he has to talk to me right away about something very important." It had been quite a while since Harry had seen his old friend, and was curious what could be so urgent. "I think I better go see Hagrid right away," Harry said. I will see you two at dinner.

So, Harry made his way across the grounds to the edge of the forbidden forest where Hagrid's small wooden house was. When Harry knocked on the door, he heard the familiar bark of Hagrid's enormous black boarhound, Fang. After a moment, the door opened and Harry's old friend, Hagrid reached out and gave Harry a big hug. "Harry Potter, I have missed you!" said Hagrid. "I've missed you too Hagrid," Harry replied, "I have been so busy with my classes, with Quidditch practice." Harry walked into the one-room house and sat down. "Your note said that you had something very important to tell me Hagrid. What is it?" Harry asked.

Hagrid sat down and looked at his young friend. "Harry, I have received word through some friends that your uncle wants to see you. They say he is very ill, and has to speak to you before he dies." It had been a long time since Harry had thought about the Dursleys. Harry did not have fond memories at all of his time living with his aunt and uncle. They made it obvious he was a burden to them. If his uncle was that sick, why would he want to see Harry? "Harry, I don't trust the Dursleys. They are typical Muggles, and I don't trust them at all. It may be a trick of some kind," Hagrid said. Harry thought for a moment, "Hagrid, I really don't know why my uncle would want to see me, but if he is sick, and went to the trouble to contact me, I should go see him." "I still don't trust him Harry, but if that is what you want, I'll take you there. You wait here and I will go talk to Professor Dumbledore and explain what is happening, and get some transportation. You keep Fang company, and I'll be back in a bit," Hagrid bellowed as he left the house.

A short time later, Harry heard a loud roaring engine and ran out the front door. There in the front yard was a huge motorcycle with his giant friend driving. "This is the exact same motorcycle that I drove the night I took you from your parent's home to the Dursleys," Hagrid beamed. "Come on Harry, get on, and hang on tight!" Harry jumped on the back of the motorcycle behind Hagrid and all of a sudden, the motorcycle began to roar to life and took off through the countryside, slowly rising above the ground and into the air. Harry's mind was racing the entire trip, wondering why his uncle wanted to see him, of all people, before he died. He really dreaded going back to that house where he had so many unpleasant memories, but felt like he was obligated to honor his uncle's wish.

In no time at all, the motorcycle was breaking through the clouds, and slowly making its way back to the ground, easing onto the familiar street where the Dursleys lived. Instantly, they came to a stop. There it was, 4 Privet Drive, the home of the Dursleys. The place Harry lived for 10 years after his parents were killed. Harry was not sure this was a good idea, but he had come this far. "Do you want me to come with you Harry?" Hagrid asked. "No, I am OK, thanks," Harry replied. "All right my friend. When you are ready to come back, send Hedwig to come get me and I will be here in no time," Hagrid said. Harry hugged his friend, and heard the sound of the motorcycle engine fading in the distance as he walked up and knocked on the front door of the Dursley home.

The door opened and Harry was looking into the eyes of Dudley Dursley. Harry held his breath, expecting the normal tirade of insults from his cousin, but instead was greeted by a huge smile on Dudley's plump face. "Harry, it is great to see you. I have missed you," Dudley exclaimed. "MOM! Harry is here. Come in Harry, come in. After all, you are home," Dudley said. Harry was really confused now as he stepped into the place he lived for so many years, yet never did feel that it was his home. From the kitchen appeared his Aunt Petunia. She hurried over to Harry, wrapping her arms around him in a loving hug that Harry had never felt from her before. She was actually sobbing gently as she said,"Harry, I am so glad you decided to come. Thank you." Harry was totally confused now. Dudley was actually nice to him, Aunt Petunia was crying and said that she was happy to see him, there was something very wrong here. Harry could not even speak. He didn't know what to say.

"Harry, I am so glad that you got here when you did. I didn't think you would make it. Your uncle is very ill and the doctors have done all they could for him. He probably won't make it through the night, but he so desperately wanted to see you before he died. Please, come on upstairs to his room. He has been waiting for you," Aunt Petunia said while quickly leading Harry up the steps to the bedroom Vernon Dursley was in. As she pushed open the door, the room was pitch dark except for a small light on the stand next to the bed. She grabbed Harry's hand tightly and led him into the room by the bed.

As they stood there, Harry's eyes adjusted to the darkness and he could see the outline of his uncle laying on the bed. "Vernon," Mrs. Dursely whispered, "Harry is here." Harry could see his uncle's eyes were closed, but slowly, one of them opened half way. He had no expression on his face, but seeing Harry, managed a slight smile. "Petunia, help me to sit up please, and leave me to talk to Harry," Mr. Dursley asked. His wife helped him up, spun around and hugged Harry on the way out of the room, whispering in his ear, "I love you Harry." She then kissed his forehead and left the room, shutting the door behind her.

Harry's mind was trying to understand what was happening. Something was very wrong. For years, the Dursleys acted like Harry didn't exist. Now his Uncle made the effort to get a message to Hagrid for Harry to come home and see him before he died. Dudley was nice to him, and his Aunt not only kissed his forehead, something she had never done before, but told Harry that she loved him. Harry's thoughts were interrupted by the weak, but familiar voice of Vernon Dursley asking Harry to sit on the edge of the bed. As Harry sat down, Mr. Dursley, now with both eyes wide open, looked at Harry. He slowly reached out and took Harry's hand in his.

Looking into Harry's eyes Mr. Dursley squeezed his hand and said, "thank you for coming Harry. I don't have much time left, but I had to see you before I die. Harry, I want you to know how sorry I am for the way I treated you all those years that you lived here. I am more ashamed of that than anything else in my life. I know that I can never make up to you for how your were mistreated, but I had to see you before I die to tell you that I am sorry, and ask you to forgive me. Harry Potter, will you forgive me?" Now Harry was certain something was wrong. This must be a trick of some sort. Maybe it is a trap. Voldemort might have cast some sort of spell over the Dursleys.

Harry didn't know what to say. Mr. Dursley, whose voice was getting weaker, whispered, "Harry, I don't blame you if you won't forgive me, but I had to at least apologize and tell you that I am so sorry." Harry could now see tears streaming down Mr. Dursley's pale cheeks. For the first time since stepping into the Dursely home, Harry was finally able utter a few words. As he saw his Uncle laying there, crying, squeezing his hand, Harry said, "I forgive you." As the words came off of Harry's lips, he saw the tears stop. There was a peace that came over his uncle's face. With his eyes closed, squeezing Harry's hand tightly, Vernon Dursley softly said, "Harry Potter, I love you. My time in this life is over, and I am going to see the King."

As he uttered the word King, Vernon Dursely took his last breath. Harry sat on the bed, still holding the hand of his uncle. He was replaying the last few moments that he had spent alone with his uncle. Why was it so important to his uncle for Harry to forgive him? After all of the years that he lived in this house, he had never once heard the Dursleys speak kindly to him, let alone say they loved him. First Aunt Petunia, now Uncle Vernon. Something was really wrong in this house. It had to be a spell of some sort. But who, and why? For what reason? Maybe the answer lies in this King he spoke of going to see when he died. I need to find out who this King is.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller