Star Wars Episode III, which I finally saw yesterday with daughter #1, was like reading the New Testament Gospels and finding that they came to an end after the crucifixion and burial of Jesus.
In the movie, the Jedi have seen their companions brutally betrayed and murdered. In the Bible, Jesus’ disciples have seen their Lord destroyed by evil.
In the movie, the “rebels” and the few remaining Jedi run and hide on a far-away planet. In the Bible, Jesus’ disciples hide themselves away in the Upper Room.
Although the end of Episode III is mostly all doom and gloom there is a strange irony. The good Padme Amidala dies but the evil Darth Vader is “resurrected.”
The New Testament Gospels are very much like this. Except, of course, that it is the dead Jesus who rises from the dead and proves that the “Dark Side” has been conquered, once and for all!
Those of us who are old enough to have grown up watching Episodes IV, V & VI, already know that the epic galactic struggle between good and evil, light and dark, ends with the “close-to-dead” rebels “rising up” and, against all odds, miraculously defeating and destroying the “Evil Empire.”
Because of this, we can be satisfied with the ending of Episode III…..because we know how the story really turns out!
Being a Christian is like that. No matter how dark or grim the world seems; no matter how strong and ascendent evil may appear; no matter how overwhelming the shadow of darkness may be seen to spread across the earth; Christians know how the story really turns out!
As Martin Luther (sort of) wrote so many years ago: “The Prince Darth Vader grim, we tremble not for him, his rage we can endure, for, lo, his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him.”
In Star Wars the triumph belongs to Luke Skywalker, his sister Leia and their loyal friends.
For Christians, however, the final victory is far less dramatic. At the so-called final battle of Armageddon, where Evil Incarnate has gathered all the forces of the dark side of sin together to wage war against God, “one little word” does indeed fell them all. In the Book of Revelation, that final battle never actually takes place. God simply declares that history is over; evil is tossed into the Lake of Fire; the old simply passes away and the new, in the form of the New Jerusalem descending from heaven, has come.
This is, of course, where Lucas’ Star Wars “theology” and the “theology” of the Bible part company. For Lucas, “The Force” is neutral and can be used equally well by both the Dark Side or its opposite.
For Christians, their is only one “Force”: God. Evil seeks to destroy but actually has no power or authority of its own, apart from God. When the time arrives for history to come to its conclusion, God simply reclaims and redeems the power that, by conscious acts of free will, has been twisted and abused in sinful disobedience and rebellion against himself.
Sometimes the world we live in seems to be collapsing into evil and darkness much like the end of Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith. But we know that the story is not yet finished. In spite of the continuing experience of suffering and death, there is also much bravery and courage to be found among those who seek righteousness. The loving God who sent his “Son” to die so that the world, through him, might be saved, will have the last word.
And God’s Word is good!Powered by Sidelines