The force was with German Protestants in Berlin on Sunday to claim the victory over evil. However, there were some #hatertweets that condemned the display as sinful and disgraceful. With some dressed in Star Wars movie garb, attendees at the Zion church heard the movie theme song played on the sanctuary organ. Vicar in training, Ulrike Garve, opened the service with the words: “The wait is over — the Force has awakened!” (Previously, Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton closed Saturday’s Democratic debate with a rousing, “… and may the force be with you.”)
What is there to defend about a themed church service? It would depend upon the theme, of course. Churches use themes all of the time – from the nativity, to plagues of Egypt and the deliverance led by Moses under God’s divine direction. So, how has good vs. evil been presented before? Let’s see… David (good) and Goliath (evil), David (good) and King Saul (evil), Naboth (good) and Jezebel (evil), sheep or Shepherd (good) and serpent (evil), Samson (good) and Delilah (evil), Jesus (good) and Judas (evil), and time would fail to list them all else.
It seems that a sermon filled “skit” (in full costume featuring a young David slings a stone into a giant Goliath’s forehead, slaying him) is deemed educational – a parable of sorts to explain and Biblical metaphor, when it is viewed by a waning audience of a few hundred in a church. Yet, a popular movie to which parallels can be drawn to make faith and religion relevant to, oh, just a few billion people around the world, is called a disgrace because the main character is not “The One” with initials, “J.C.”
It is written that some people who could and should and would be changed by the Good News of the Gospel are being left out because of traditions that are no longer relevant; because of non-Biblical rites being mandated, and for the sake of some people who would make faith difficult to grasp by holding it in such an untouchable place that it is in fact unfathomable in a very personal way (which is needed) by people struggling to understand their place in the world and their relationship to their Creator.
So, let’s get real. Go ye therefore and teach all nations is not about being politically correct and maintaining a pomp for the sake of a religious stance that is holier than thou and untouchable. It’s about speaking to people about and showing them the nature of God in a language that they understand, in order to stir up their faith and strengthen their belief and help them understand that there is a refuge in the plan and purpose of the Almighty. In fact, it is written that He feels our weakness and understands our pains – that does not sound like an unrelatable relic of a god who is out there somewhere but not close enough to reach.
Very many faiths begin teaching their doctrines and ordinances to children of believers at very early ages. Some children can recite Scriptures and liturgies, hymns, and statements of faith before ever they learn to read and write well. If Star Wars can let a child holding a light saber know that there exists both good and evil, and that the victor should be on the side of good, that’s a pretty strong metaphor and nothing to be shunned if explained in a proper context without hate speech or excessive concentration on the side of the enemy. A healthy focus on the good, with the willingness to enter a dialogue and not just a dissertation with the learner, can be a very effective lesson, especially if learners are able ask questions as much as necessary and receive thoughtful and Biblically sound answers. The emphasis on which side of the story to stand in is the important part of the presentation. A Vicar at the Berlin “Star Wars” service said it well, “People know Star Wars…” unfortunately, it seems fewer know the Bible than the movie. Creating a parable from something people already know is a great idea used often by a genius – you might have heard of Him: Jesus.
After all, the first star-war was above the stars, when a conceited Lucifer thought himself a star more worthy than the King of Kings. There you go again with good vs evil. Guess who wins?