May the 4th be with you…
Maybe you’ve heard this expression today, or seen it on the Facebook? It’s teasingly called Star Wars Day by enthusiasts. It’s a play on the phrase, “May be the force with you,” spoken in the Star Wars movies by force wielding characters.
If you aren’t a Star Wars fan, I apologize. Star Wars the original three movies were movie magic when they first hit the big screen. It was cinematic gold!
Of all the characters introduced in the film, one of my favorite is Darth Vader. Yep, he’s the bad guy. He is powerful, and scary, and mean. He’s dressed in all black, and seems to be part robot.
You find out along the way, on this cinematic journey that Darth Vader is following the orders of the emperor, who is pulling strings and trying to complete the construction of powerful super weapon that can blow up entire planets.
One of things that floored movie goers and fans, was the big reveal in Star Wars universe that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. It is shocking and scandalous.
The hero is the son of the villain.
There’s this powerful moment in the trilogy where Luke is facing off with his evil dad, and he is overcome, and then the evil emperor tries to kill Luke, but Darthy is persuaded by the power of love, and the light side to protect his son, and overcomes the evil emperor.
Darth Vader was redeemed, and then sadly he dies.
We like redemption stories. Don’t’ we? When villains change teams, or change allegiances. There’s something deep inside of us that is touched by those moments.
We resonate with these stories because they are stories too. We too know the power of the dark side, the allure of the forbidden fruit and the thrill of rebellion.
We aren’t alone in this understanding.
- Adam and Eve knew the power of the dark side, and yet their story ends with coverings and children
- Noah built an ark to escape the flood, and yet winds up drunk and naked
- Abraham would lie twice to protect his own skin, his wife would give him her hand maiden and the Abrahamic promise would be in jeopardy until Isaac was born
- Moses saw injustice and killed and Egyptian and flees to the desert of Midian
On and on the list of Biblical heroes goes who failed in some way and yet are courted and called back by God.
While Darth Vader doesn’t become a Christian his story reminds me of Saul’s conversion in Acts 9, and how someone can go from a bad guy to a good guy.
Read Acts 9:1-9
Saul was on a mission. He was following orders, His mission was to destroy those who were perceived as the enemy. While Saul didn’t have access to the Death Star and Light Sabers, he does have letters from the high priest and the authority to send followers of Jesus to prison, or oversee their death (like Stephen in Acts 7.
Like Vader’s character development, Saul’s mission to Damascus doesn’t end in the arrest of Christians. His mission is arrested, and his life is changed by an encounter with the Son from heaven. He is struck blind, and falls to the ground. While we may not hear, “Luke, I am your Father.” We do hear, Jesus say to Saul I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
This brief encounter on the road outside of Damascus sets a trajectory that will change the world. This one man, the great persecutor of the church becomes the great missionary of the church.
It is a great story of redemption.
We too find ourselves in this story. We too have been enemies of God, and yet to show the great love that God has for us, he demonstrates his own love for us in this “while we were still sinners: Christ died for us.” It is the climatic moment where the bad guy rushes the emperor and defeats him, only this time Our Savior rushes the darkness and sin and defeats it fully for us!