Slideshow image

From Intern Quentin . . .

Grace and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.

Ever since I can remember, I have always loved and enjoyed the Star Wars universe whether it is the movies, the TV shows, or their Lego sets. It has been a massive space epic of good versus evil, the dangers of blind loyalties, and the temptation of immense power. And, sprinkled throughout the Star Wars universe is the mystical and spiritual energy that George Lucas calls The Force.

Now there are several origins for where George Lucas came up with the idea of The Force for the Star Wars universe. He wanted to draw from several religious backgrounds, instill a sense of spirituality in youthful viewers, and on the idea that regardless of your own religious beliefs, we cannot deny a sense of something unknown moving through and shaping the galaxy around us. But the real question is how that relates to our faith life as Christians today?

When we understand The Force as a cosmic, spiritual essence that moves through all things in the galaxy and shaping things toward the direction of good, then we can connect it to a loose understanding of how we understand the Holy Spirit moving and shaping us in our lives.  Going further, the Star Wars films become rich retellings of some of our most popular accounts from the Gospel that ask us to trust in the unknown and believe in the unseen power of God.

One of these retellings occurs in The Empire Strikes Back. A major part of the plot for this movie is our hero, Luke Skywalker, must be trained in the ways of The Force by the old and wise Master Yoda. A large part of his training is trusting in the unknown and believing in the unseen power and immensity of the Force.

At some point, Luke must quickly leave to rescue his friends in danger but, his space ship has sunken into the local swamp. His master seeing this as a great opportunity to test Luke’s training, instructs Luke to lift the ship using The Force. However, Luke cannot lift the ship because he cannot trust nor believe that it is possible.  Even when Master Yoda lifts the ship using The Force, Luke is in such awe of the unseen and immense power of The Force that he cannot believe the feat possible until he reaches out to touch the hull of the ship. Only then does he begin to trust and believe.

What I love about this scene is that it retells the account of Doubting Thomas from the Gospel According to John. After the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples and followers are left in grieving the loss of their Lord, teacher, brother, and friend. But slowly, Jesus begins revealing His resurrected self to his followers and disciples. Once Jesus reveals Himself to the disciples in the upper room, they begin to fully believe that Jesus has been resurrected. However, Thomas, who was absent from this first appearance, cannot believe that such a thing is possible saying the well-known line “not until I place my finger in the mark of his nails… I will not believe” (John 20:25, NRSVue). Just like Luke Skywalker, Thomas cannot trust nor believe in the immense power of God to overcome death itself. Not until Thomas’ ‘master’ reveals Himself resurrected and he places his finger through the wounds, just as Luke Skywalker touches the hull of his ship, can Thomas now trust and believe.

Even though we may never touch the hull of Luke’ ship nor place our fingers through the wounds of Christ, this scene from Star Wars reminds us of how difficult it is to trust in the unknown and believe in the unseen. But, this scene from Star Wars also reminds us that even when we struggle and fail to trust and believe – just as Luke has Yoda to reveal to him the truth – we have the Holy Spirit who gives us our very belief in the God who creates us, saves us, forgives us and is resurrected for us. So, as you go through this month, may the Lord, and The Force, be with you to help you trust and believe in the unseen power of God.

Peace and Blessings, 
Quentin Surace