RNS Contributor, Jeffrey Salkin wrote today, “Spoiler alert: ‘Star Wars’ is an actual American religion.” Examiner previously reported that if a movie could teach a child the value of good that overcomes evil, that would be a strong and worthy metaphor if presented with proper context.
With an $11 Million dollar starting production budget, the Star Wars Episode VII movie has grossed over $1,090,572,329 billion on Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, for a grand total of $5,576,731,151 trillion dollars for the franchise since the first movie was released in 1977. That could equal the offerings of millions of church goers being combined over the course of 38 years – the longevity of the Star Wars Franchise. We of the seventies generation have had the unique vantage of growing up with the phenomenon these near forty years.
What do you do with a successful run? You start a new generation of runners. (Spoiler alert:) New episodes are planned for December 2016 – Star Wars: Rogue One; May 2017 – Star Wars: Ep. VIII; May 2018 – Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Spinoff; and December 2019 – Star Wars: Ep. IX.
Episode VII features various Biblical themes, if not parallels, including a Prodigal Son, an omnipotent and forgiving father, a prince of evil, believers who fight for the light, and those who fight for darkness. It asked the perennial question, “Why am I here” or “What is my purpose.” It also shows that a conscious choice must be made, either to walk in the light or live in the shadows. The Elders hold the wisdom of the ages, whether good, or bad. This knowledge is protected and only given to those found worthy of it – those who prove that they will not knowingly use that knowledge for evil, or give its power to the dark side – those who willfully do evil.
If movie theaters were churches, they would be the largest franchise of any denomination in the world. That’s a lot of pews. If the force were real (and some believe that it is), you would have to have some way to tap into its flow in order to benefit from or use its power. The Star Wars “force” is like the Holy Spirit. It exists outside of people. However, it works in the earth through people as well as independently. For those who can harness it, they can do supernatural works.
“The Force is defined as ‘an energy field created by all living things’. It surrounds us and penetrates us.” The Holy Spirit dwells among and within those who meet the conditions of a consecrated life. A pastor might open a worship service by saying, Close your eyes and call in the force. When worshipers shut the world away and forget about who is standing next to them or who is watching, and simply focus on God and give Him all of their attention, that would be calling in the force – they are literally drawing in the atmosphere of heaven, to the earth.
When one operates in the fruits of the Spirit (love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), that is using the force of heaven: the Holy Spirit. This grand force is also used when exercising the gifts of the Spirit. It could also be in the tools of the Spirit – a word of knowledge, a prolific wisdom, and the ability to manifest signs and wonders.
The force connects all who believe in and serve it. There is a personal connection among those believers, the stronger of whom are able to feel fluctuations and changes in the quality and presence of the force. Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit also have access to His infinite knowledge and signs of power will follow those who believe. Those among whom the Holy Spirit’s presence is strong may have communication from God, through the Spirit conduit, that informs them of things that other people could not reveal to them.
Luke Skywalker seems like a nod to the Gospel of Luke, which speaks of the light or lamp of the body. Luke 11:35-36 reads: “33 No one lights a lamp and then puts it in a cellar nor under a basket [hiding the light], but [instead it is put] on the lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 The eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive, focused on God], your whole body also is full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. But when it is bad [spiritually blind], your body also is full of darkness [devoid of God’s word]. 35 Be careful, therefore, that the light that is in you is not darkness. 36 So if your whole body is illuminated, with no dark part, it will be entirely bright [with light], as when the lamp gives you light with its bright rays” AMP. Clearly, being full of the light makes it possible to also exude or shine that light from within in order to affect the external atmosphere – to push back the darkness.
Darth Vader invades the earth with darkness. Such a metaphors is not likely coincidence. It is more a purposeful positioning of ying and yang: a universal dualism of good vs. evil. And, as it said in the earth, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” When the good is stagnant, hesitant, complacent, or nonchalant, or shall we say, “lukewarm” instead of in hot pursuit of holiness, that is when evil tips the scale. Salkin wrote, “Let’s say that there is an overdose of divine justice, and not enough divine mercy. That screws up the whole system. It gives birth to the Sitra Achara –‘the other side’ — the domain of evil…”
Finally, consider that when light shines in darkness, the darkness is eradicated. However, when darkness moves toward light, it becomes enlightened.” Darkness can be penetrated of light and destroyed thereby. However, the only way darkness can triumph is if one puts their own light out. Therefore, those who walk in the light must keep their lamps trimmed and glowing; and darkness will not overtake it, as was said by Queen Elizabeth II.
When Darth Vader says, “Luke, I am your father,” it shows that good can come out of dark places that allow the spark of light to grow and overtake the darkness. Still, when a knowing generation does not teach its sons and daughters about the mistakes of the past, youths can and do more often repeat the sins of history having not the knowledge of what the Elders have learned. When Rey defeated Kylo Ren, my son gave that an air fist bump – like, fight the power [of evil, using the force]. Mission accomplished.