…I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. II Peter 1:12
Our family has a fun tradition that was begun in 1977 with the release of the first Star Wars movie. My parents and our young family sat in a little line in the theater to watch the parade of fantastic characters march across the screen depicting their amazing struggle to defeat the evil empire. And as the epic continued, the children got older, married, had children, and we still went together to sit in our extended line for the anticipated entertainment. But now my parents are no longer with us.
With the newest release this year, I’ve had to review some old DVD’s to remind myself of what occurred in previous episodes. In doing so, I’ve picked up a few kernels of wisdom. One of the characters tells a youngster, “When you give in to fear or hatred or anger, you go to the Dark Side.” And then there is always the admonition to “Use the Force.” As the trainee learns to listen and use the Force, he becomes more powerful and does astonishing things.
I imagine John of the Revelation would readily understand the images and messages from Star Wars. After all, he used images and symbols to portray important truths and warnings for the Church of his day (and the future) including the cosmic battle between good and evil. And John also warns against being fearful (Rev. 21:8), something we tend to dismiss as a little thing. In actuality, when fear isn’t a natural response to danger, it’s a state of distrusting God. Then John tells us in I John 2:9 that if we hate a brother or sister, we walk in darkness. And Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:22) that those who are angry with a brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. I expect we can all agree that fear, hatred, and anger does pull a person to the dark side.
But the reminder I especially like are the words that were repeated over and over by the Jedi warrior, “Use the Force.” In our constant battle against our eternal enemy, how often do we rely on ourselves rather than remembering that greater is he that is within us than he that is in the world (I John 4:4)? As we decrease, the Spirit of God grows stronger and more powerful in us and can do more than we can ask or think (Eph. 3:20). We really are more than conquerors through him who loved us as we rely on the power of God within us.
Lest you scoff that my little jaunt into the Star Wars world is a bit trite, I recall that on a visit (the 4th day of May) to one of our esteemed seminaries, which shall remain nameless, I entered the chapel only to see a white Storm Trooper helmet on the head of one of the carved saints in a niche high above the chancel with the notation, “May the Fourth be with you.” I love seeing God’s reminders everywhere.
Father, thank you for the gift of humor and for your principles that are all around us. Give us eyes to see, hearts to obey… In Jesus’ name. AMEN.