Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Jesus is even better than Star Wars!

I like Star Wars. It’s full of adventure and excitement. There are brave rescues and self-sacrificing heroes. There are fun characters and cool spaceships. George Lucas has also infused it with a powerful spirituality that motivates and inspires his characters (and many of the viewers too). As Christian viewers, what are we to make of this world that has so many good aspects to it but ultimately is at odds with our beliefs about God and the world we live in? I think it’s OK to be inspired and excited but then we can also allow these imperfect ideas to point us to the amazing truths of the gospel. So here are four reasons that real life as a follower of Jesus is even better than Star Wars!

A greater adventure

As the Star Wars adventure begins, Luke Skywalker’s life is lifted above the hum drum existence. He finds that he has a purpose and a destiny. Princess Leia needs his help. Obi Wan Kenobi calls him to take up his Father’s lightsaber and opens his eyes to ‘the force’, a spiritual reality (in the world of Star Wars) that will transform the way he lives his life. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a great purpose and a higher calling; to be involved in brave deeds that save lives and change the world? Jesus calls us to a life of adventure that is even better than Luke’s! When Jesus met his first followers on the beach he called them to leave behind their hum drum lives as fishermen and take up the challenge to ‘fish’ for people instead. (Matthew 4:18-22) He invited them, and us, to be part of his great mission of saving people! Even in the midst of our ordinary lives at work, school or home we are part of a cosmic adventure in which we battle against evil discover our true purpose and lay down our lives for others. (Matthew 16:24-25)

A more elegant weapon
Ok, so lightsabers are cool! Obi Wan recognises that as he tells Luke they are, “the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster, an elegant weapon for a more civilized age... the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic.”  These dangerous and powerful weapons helped the Jedi in their struggle for peace and Justice. Christians have a powerful and elegant weapon too; one that we can wield for peace and Justice as we live out our cosmic destiny.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 Yes, the word of God, the bible is a weapon with which we are to fight the good fight. It’s more than a collection of stories or a list of rules! It’s not for fighting against other people but for fighting the real, spiritual battle. See (2 Corinthians 10:1-6 and Ephesians6:17) The bible is a cool weapon and an amazing thing, plus (in the UK at least) you won’t get arrested for carrying it around in your bag!

A more loving God!
‘God’ isn’t mentioned in Star Wars. Instead, George Lucas pulls in ideas from eastern religions and philosophies such as Taoism to create ‘the force’. This spiritual force is in everything and can be used for good or evil. Those in whom the force is strong, like Luke and Darth Vader can manipulate it for their own ends. Ordinary people, with weak minds can be easily controlled by those who have mastered the force. “These are not the droids you are looking for.”
But the bible teaches us that God not part of the universe. He is separate from it; he made it! The force that powers the world is a person. He actually loves it and relates to it and is involved in it. We do have access to his cosmic power but it’s not something we can master or manipulate. His power is never separate from his person. In a galaxy far, far away, the force doesn’t care what happens to you; it’s a force! It seeks balance, like water finding its level. In the real world, the force behind creation loves us! (Romans 8:38) He doesn’t seek balance, he works for good! (Romans 8:28)

A better hero
Star Wars is full of heroes. Each of them struggles to battle for good but they also have to battle their own fear and failures. Some even go over to the dark side. However brave or good or they are, they are all part of the world and ‘the force’ they seek is just a part of the world too. But in Jesus we have a hero who enters our world from outside. Here is the God who made the universe stepping in to it. When he died on the cross he defeated the powers of evil once and for all.(Colossians 2:14,15) He’s our leader, saviour and friend. Obi Wan, Han, Luke, R2 D2, Leia and the others all rolled into one can only give us a tiny hint of the greatness of the one hero we really need!

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