My wife and I recently kept two of our grandchildren for a few days. On a Saturday afternoon, as
we were looking for a particular movie one of them wanted to see, an ad for the first Star Wars film popped up.
They immediately jumped at the chance to see it, explaining that this was one of their favorite movies of all time. Since they are eight and five years old, I wondered how a movie made in 1977 could be so popular with them. But when I watched it with them (for the first time in many years), I understood the appeal. The technology is obviously dated, but the film is still fun to see. When Luke destroyed the Death Star, we cheered as if it had just happened for the first time. Now, it turns out, I could own a piece of the movie. A “Stormtrooper” helmet certified to have been used in the filming has become available; the opening bid is a mere $300,000. A “blaster” used in the film is also available at a starting bid of $35,000.
Apparently, I’m not the only person who values the movie.
What explains the enduring appeal of the first Star Wars and all its many film descendants? Of all the answers that could be given, this one is obvious: its good-against-evil plot is as compelling as when the movie was first released. In the film, good is obviously good and evil is obviously evil. Darth Vader is to be hated and feared; Luke and his friends are to be beloved and cheered.
All successful art evokes something in those who experience it. A landscape invites us into the scene it presents; a symphony envelops us in a musical blanket; a ballet captivates those who watch its performers do what seems physically impossible. But art that spans generations speaks to truth that spans generations. So it is with Star Wars: there is something deeply compelling about a band of “rebels” fighting against an evil “Empire” for the future of the universe. After watching the movie again, I was ready to sign up to join them.
It turns out, I have. And so have you if Jesus is your Lord.
We are now called to assault the “gates of hell” (Matthew 16:18), taking Christ to the culture by
“speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) and seeking to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This commission comes with conflict: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
We may feel as outnumbered as Luke’s friends in Star Wars, but we are not. Unlike the impersonal “Force” on which they depended, we have the King of the universe as our Father, his omnipotence as our power, his sovereignty as our guide.
So, let’s play our role in the story of the ages. No “Stormtrooper” helmet or “blaster” ado needed: we have the “helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:18).
What part in the “film” is yours today?