It’s not at all surprising that Disney chose to release the seventh installment of the Star Wars series, The Force Awakens, during the Christmas season. Sure this time of year is great for movie-goers, but I think the Christian narrative parallels the epic science fiction series more than you might imagine.
So this weekend, as millions flock to theaters, here are a few similarities to consider.
A long time ago, in a village far, far away…
When George Lucas originally crafted the Star Wars series, he used an all-binding, metaphysical power called, the Force, as his central idea. The Force maintains a balance between good and evil among the universe and allows individuals to tap into both sides of its nature.
The Jedi, or the guardians of the Force, rely upon its presence to guide them through adversity as they battle the Dark Side.
In the Christian narrative, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin entered into the story. Throughout the Old Testament and the history of God’s people, the Jews, there is a similar struggle between good and evil. From the beginning, God provides supernatural assistance to those who call upon His name.
I laughingly think of all the instances where the Force aided the Jedi and where God’s Spirit aided His people.
For example, as Luke and Obi-Wan-Kenobi are escaping the storm trooper’s barricade in A New Hope, Obi-Wan says, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
In the Old Testament, Rahab, a prostitute, hides spies sent by Joshua saying, “They left. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.”
“May the Force be with you.”
A Prophetic Savior
In Lucas’s story, there is a prophecy which states that there would be one who would bring balance to the Force. We learn in the prequel trilogy that this one is believed to be Anakin Skywalker, a child. And we attach to this character because of the promise surrounding his birth.
In the Christian narrative, God sends his son, Jesus, as the prophetic Savior, a Messiah for His people’s redemption. And we first learn of Jesus at his birth at Christmas—the child in a manger.
Of course there are many differences, but isn’t it curious that both Jesus and Anakin, at one point in the story, go to the Dark Side?
Anakin becomes the evil sith lord, Darth Vader, while Jesus bears the sins of humanity in His death on the cross and descends into hell on the behalf of mankind.
Another interesting similarity is that both figures die during the story but later appear as risen.
Seeing the similarity yet?
Wisdom from the Past
Lastly, and probably my favorite parallel, is the idea that both the Jedi and God’s people are aided by their predecessors.
In the films, Luke is aided by both Obi-Wan and Yoda, Jedi Masters who showed him the ways of the Force. Even after their death, they are able to aid Luke through the power and community they held together.
As a Christian, the greatest revelation I’ve had is learning from my Christian brothers and sisters who have gone before me.
In the Bible, we’re given stories of God’s people. In our lives of faith, we learn from those faithful individuals who have modeled obedience and service.
I think of Abraham and Joseph and Moses and David. And in the New Testament: Peter and Paul and James and John. In each of these stories, I’ve learned valuable lessons from these long-dead patriarchs that have shaped my relationship with God.
As we model our lives after theirs, we experience the power of community we share in our faith in God.
Too often we may feel like Christianity is obtuse and unreliable.
I would never suggest that the Star Wars series could or should supplant the Gospel, but with this newfound perspective, I believe it can enhance the story and further cement the narrative in our hearts and minds.
In a way, Lucas is simply shadowing the deep truths of scripture, thus giving us a perspective to engage our faith in a more impactful and meaningful relationship.