I’m looking forward to the annual Family Camp at Walesby this year with the church and uniformed organisations. We usually have a theme and this year it is all things Star Wars. I remember queuing to see the very first movie with my Dad. It was the most amazing experience from the effects which are quite dated now to the soundtrack. Star Wars was more than just a series of movies which I’ve shared in watching with my children as they’ve grown up into adults. It was and still is an alternative world that consumes me. The characters of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader and Han Solo remain iconic for so many. As George Lucas says, ‘Stars Wars has always struck a chord with people. There are issues of loyalty, of friendship, of good and evil … the theme comes from stories that have been around for thousands of years.’
The Star Wars saga can serve as a useful metaphor for the Christian faith.
1. “Star Wars” invites us into an ancient story
The movie begins with crawl text and stars, “long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.” Although it’s a sci-fi movie the worlds it moves through seem set in the past. As Christians we live within the ancient story of God, Israel, Jesus and the Church. While Star Wars shows us this truth in fiction, we live out our greater truth in reality. The past matters. Even Yesterday matters. The Christian story and our personal story shapes us today. When we are afraid or unsure we look back in history to see a God who saves us.
2. Star Wars shows us that there are good guys and bad guys
I believe Darth Vader is the greatest villain of all time. When he first appeared menacingly on our cinema screens I still remember feeling a cold chill and how the hairs stood up on my neck. He had the Death Star and all sorts of modern technology. The good guys were the rogue rebels with their antiquated equipment. Jesus was THE rogue rebel, a revolutionary rabbi from a nowhere mountain town. His followers were from equally unimpressive backgrounds. The revolution Jesus launched is one of love, grace and peace against the Roman and Jewish states. As Christians we wage war against the dark forces of hate, violence and greed.
3. Star Wars shows us that the force is with us.
Throughout Star Wars there is a mysterious force that pulls things together in the universe. There is more to that sci fi world than meets the eye. More than the material things that can be seen, heard, touched or smelt. Could there be a mysterious Force in our universe that pulls all things together? Our “Force” of course is none other than the mystery of God at work in the lives and hearts of those who believe. We can do anything through the power of the Holy Spirit the comforter who brings love, joy and peace to our lives.
4. Star Wars shows us that redemption is possible.
Star Wars is ultimately the story of one man: Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was destined for greatness as a Jedi Knight, but gave into the dark side becoming Darth Vader, more machine than human. However, before his life ends, Anakin defeats Vader by rescuing his own son, Luke, from the grasp of the evil Emperor. At the end of Return of the Jedi although Anakin dies, it is not before Vader does. Anakin turns away from darkness and lives even though he has died. This is the hope of Jesus and his gospel. Even though we die we will live eternally. It doesn’t matter what we have done if we are truly sorry nobody is beyond God’s forgiving grace. Redemption is available for all of us. We are all Vader and we are all Anakin. Will our daily choice be the way of evil or good.
I love all the Star Wars movies not only for the nostalgia but also for the truth it contains, even in the latest releases. In scripture God continually tells his people not to be afraid. I’ll finish with a quote not from the bible but from Yoda. ‘Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.’
May the Force be with you.