by Jason Duncan of Not Your Pastor’s Podcast
*POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT*
As “vicious violent” Vader (google Kings Kaleidoscope “Beyond Control” if you don’t get the reference) came forth from the darkness, saber blocking blasts and Force choking his way through rebels, I had to fight back tears in my Rogue One opening night seat. These weren’t tears of fear or awe at the sight of the mighty Vader, they were tears of joy at the reinforcement of God’s love for us through his Word. The Bible. Say What!?
Now, I operate on a Christian worldview, and I completely understand others with other worldviews can easily walk away with a different interpretation, but that is why I love art!
Rogue One is full of sacrifice from beginning to end. Sacrifice made in faith or as the movie mantras, hope. The viewer is constantly introduced to seemingly insignificant characters who are latching on to hope through an archaic and otherwise dead power, the Force. Hope for justice, hope for peace, hope for a better life, hope that the Force would awaken and come to aid. Likewise, as a Christian, I often feel like we are clinging to a dying and archaic text. One that is beaten on all sides!
As Vader steam-rolled that spacecraft hallway and those Death Star plans relayed to rest in that lovable familiar little droid, my mind wandered into my shallow understanding of church history. As those rebels fell, I saw the saints of old falling at the hands of evil. From saints who lost the support of their families when they plunged into the waters of baptism of the early church, to saints persecuted at the hands of Nero for pledging allegiance to Christ, to saints reduced to silence in a church hierarchy established by Constantine, to saints murdered by “saints” who were power hungry (a temptation Jesus didn’t give way to), to saints who inspired a wake up call in the reformation, to the counter-cultural saints who reverberate the Bible’s message of justice and equality to the self absorbed nations of today. (Jesus didn’t build walls people!) Each one faithfully took part in relaying the message of hope in the resurrection of Jesus. They died for that message which is one tap away from your eyes on a app on your phone!
Now is this message, is the bible, perfect and inerrant? I truly think so! Like the Force which can be wielded by good or evil, so can the Bible and its interpretation. But let’s not get lost in the irrelevance of inerrancy. Rather, let’s focus on how this message got into your hands and into your heart and changed your life. In all of the weakness surrounding it, think of the sacrifice which occurred over the past 2000 years to get that gospel message to you. If you believe that Jesus is real, that he is God incarnate, that he is sinless, and sacrificed himself for you, congratulations! Your very existence is miraculous, and ultimately, in this day in age, your belief trickles back to God’s very own inspired word!
I for one will continuously humble myself to the apparent weakness and folly of the Bible. Like those few hopefuls who believe in the Force, it’s a message that, at times, borders on a being a fable, a message that doesn’t survive fact checks (even to the best apologetic dancers), and a message that is constantly losing ground. But man, is God’s power to change hearts displayed through its weakness and through the weakness of those who proclaim it! I am proud to be one of those insignificant characters latching on to its message of hope! Hope for justice, hope for peace, and hope for a better life after this one through the works of Jesus! Now that is worth dying for.
I hope this article inspires you to re-examine the very words of God with a new filter. A filter of sacrifice by those who so desperately wanted you to hear it and let you know that you are loved! That desperation, that hope, is what I saw in Rogue One, and I hope you can see it too. May the “Force” be with you.
Jason Duncan, talker at Not Your Pastor’s Podcast