I dozed off a couple of times during the new Star Wars movie. That alone should not be condemnation. I fall asleep during most movies. However, producers beware, my 15-year-old grandson slept through a substantial part of the film. Not good news.
This new one has all the previously winning Star War elements. Nifty space ships. Strange looking aliens. Space battles and laser shoot ups. Nice looking young people. It has the same theme: a seemingly hopeless struggle against the ominous and very evil empire.
Star Wars came out on May 25, 1977. I was twenty-eight years old, still in the Navy. I had hair and young children. I am now sixty-seven, little hair and little great grand children. Carrie Fisher was a girl. Today she’s dead. To this generation, the Star War elements are historic and not revolutionary. A lot has changed since 1977.
Perhaps the saddest thing is that maybe the theme is now out of date, the seemingly hopeless struggle against the ominous and very evil empire. Donald Trump won. To half the country the rebels are in charge and the evil empire is being vanquished. To the other half, the evil empire is about to be in charge. Half the country is elated; the other half is considering fleeing in panic. Maybe the split in opinion is what’s changed the most. In 1977, everyone watching Star Wars recognized the Empire was evil and the rebels were courageous and the struggle was righteous. I had the feeling last night some of the audience was pulling for Darth Vader.
We really don’t need nifty space ships. Strange looking aliens. Space battles and laser shoot ups. Having nice looking young people is still nice, even if they have disappeared from our mirrors. We certainly need to feel like we are part of a rebellion against evil. We need to know that what seems hopeless really isn’t. Unlike the “futuristic” elements of Star Wars, the theme is built into our DNA. We need more than politicians to satisfy that need.
We need something like “The Force” that guides the race to true freedom. The Star Wars theme was seemingly universal but imperfect. The force had a light and dark side. It was used by those seeking good and by those simply seeking power. (The politics analogy comes to mind.) We need a force that is one-sided, that is pure light, completely right and completely good.
We have Jesus. We have his force, the Holy Spirit. Have we made these into fixers of our inconveniences, sources of our perceived need for prosperity, at best healers of our ills? Can we no longer perceive the differences between dark and light? Do we think we no longer need rebellion? Are these so out-of-date that we can’t see them for the true leaders of the rebellion we all desperately need and as the winners of the battle that’s already won?
It’s a New Year. Maybe it’s time to consider more than healthy exercise, fewer calories, and sounder financial planning. Maybe we are sleeping through more than just the movies.