This past week, Star Wars The Force Awakens, emerged onto the big screen. After mixed reviews from the prequels, the amount of fanfare from social media and news outlets flooded our electronic feeds on a daily basis. I will say that I saw it and enjoyed it; especially the much anticipated light saber duel(s). As I watched it, I couldn’t help but see the affect this franchise has across the generational spectrum. This movie brought Baby Boomers (I and II), and Generations X-Z together. Whether it’s realized or not, behind the story I see God’s work of redemption illustrated in particular themes of the movie.
Without a doubt, the nature of good versus evil is present throughout the movie. Darkness has once again entered into the universe. The Jedi are in a constant state of flux. There is the temptation for more power; in which the dark side ultimately consumes some. It is a sense of falsehood that seeks to devour both its opponents and proponents. This distortion can only be balanced by having the one true light destroying the darkness in its entirety. Sound familiar?
But in this latest saga, evil has not been destroyed. As it is in our world, evil continues its’ decisive attack on the family. We know the story of Luke and Darth Vader. The separation and struggle are brought upon as a result of the dark side. But this time the dark side has clouded the universe on a grander scale. There is a broken system in the galaxies. We see children without parents, taken from their homes and forced into slavery. This evil seeps its way between everyone, even the least expected.
It is the same tactic that Satan capitalizes on time and time again. Puritan clergyman, Thomas Manton speaks about the impact of broken families in his Epistle to the Reader of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechism He writes, “The devil has great spite toward the kingdom of Christ, and he knows no better way to crush it in the egg, than by perversion of youth, and supplanting of family-duties.” It is our most cherished ‘seminary’ that is under attack. It is the neglect from ‘governors’ of the family that allows this void to be filed with fervors of evil.
Lastly, the movie ends on one theme that is so often overlooked in all facets of our world. That is the changing of the guard between the old and new. I emphasize this importance because of the encouragement and diligence needed to persevere in raising our younger generations to carry on the duties of the men and women in our church. When I think of that last scene from The Force Awakens I am reminded of Paul’s encouragement to Timothy. One such examples comes from 1 Timothy 4:11-16:
“Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
Just as many of the Jedi sought out those to train while they were young, there is a need more than ever in our culture to take heed of Paul’s writing. Thomas Manton describes the importance of ministering to the younger generations as he writes, “Like wax they are capable of any form of impression in knowledge and fear of God.”
In the end, Star Wars is just a figment of our imagination. It should not, nor does it supplant the hunger of our souls for the one true God. For there is already one who came and battled the true darkness, and darkness did not overcome Him (John 1:15). As we go forth, I pray that we would persevere through this fallen world. For in us is Christ, and we are the salt and light of this world (Matthew 5:13-16).