This last week, in the general psychology class I teach, we were talking about how each psychological perspective views personality. One of the things I shared was the projective test method of assessment: basically you “project” unconscious aspects of your personality onto an ambiguous picture or word. Naturally, I demonstrate with some TAT (thematic apperception test) photos and the well-known word association test. The class shouts out their words:
We all chuckle and the progression of that random conversation takes us, for a few minutes, from the classroom to “a galaxy far, far away…” At the end of the semester we are all ready for a little diversion, we’ve built up some good relationships in the classroom, and I’m always up for a good Star Wars reminiscence.
I saw the real first Star Wars episode(IV) in a theater in Corte Madera, California. The theater was next door to the apartment my dad lived in after my parents divorced (my generation’s “where were you when Kennedy was shot?”). I enjoyed the movie, but, to be honest, I was so caught up in the drama of early adolescence (I was 14 years old) and the humiliation of going to a movie with my father and my little sister that I didn’t realize I was part of history-in-the-making!
Fast forward to early parenthood…four little boys and a husband who had seen every episode numerous times and remembered every detail. I enjoy watching movies…but once they’re done I’m on to the next thing…no time, or space, to lock those details into long-term memory. The new first prequel trilogy Episode I is released in 1999 (my boys were too little to see this, but it was definitely a cause for a rare and precious date night). But Episode II in 2002 started the interweaving of the Ray family and Star Wars Culture…
My husband and I had been debating whether our children were “ready” to see Episode II. We were strict about what our children put into their very impressionable minds, but they were also of an age that if we went to see it alone there would be some struggles. But at that time there was a “tradition” of sorts that our very gracious friends, Dave and Mitzi, would take our four young boys (now ages 2-8) overnight on our wedding anniversary (May 30). Just so happens that Episode II was released mid-May…how convenient! Problem solved. No need to let the boys know that Mom and Dad were stepping’ out on them.
Little did we know that Mitzi thought seeing a movie would be a perfect afternoon respite for her and a glorious adventure for the Ray boys! We won’t even go to the birthday party she took them to after the movie, right before we picked them up…the birthday party with a LOT of cake and ice cream (did I mention that I was one of those moms that had very little sugar in the house?). Oh…those were the days…
After that not-intentional-on-our-part introduction to the Star Wars saga the boys were hooked. And like all good God-fearing Christian parents we worried over the new-age aspects of the production. But we could weave a spiritually questionable fictional tale into the truth of scripture (please no judgment…believe me all aspects of this film have been discussed thoroughly…you can stop reading now if you’d like…but you’ve come this far already…). We began watching the previous trilogy on family movie nights. Our world became filled with Star Wars paraphernalia: costumes, light sabers, action-figures, and lots and lots of Legos! When our youngest was 4 and the rest of the boys were in school it became part of his daily routine to watch an hour of a Star Wars movie during his afternoon “rest” time. That translates to dressing up in costume and stopping the film periodically to act out the light saber battle he had just witnessed. Again…no judgment…he was my fourth child, my fourth boy (with each boy we had it was like exponential growth, so it was in reality boy #16).
You might be wondering where all this is going? I did mention that I was always up for a little Star Wars reminiscing, didn’t I? Oh…one thing I forgot to point out: our two youngest sons are Luke and Ben (ah…but that could go a few ways, couldn’t it?).
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve used Anakin’s descent to the “dark side” to illustrate the fact that moving away from God’s path isn’t a big jump, it’s usually just small steps. One apparently minor choice leads to another and to another. When we try to control our life, and the lives of those we love, without talking – and listening – to the Lord about it first, it usually doesn’t usually end well. We don’t all become Darth Vader, but sometimes our hearts end up just as shriveled and dark.
Life can be like being Luke Skywalker lost on the planet Hoth. Out in the cold, no visible means to a solution, a blizzard rages around us and we feel alone, then get trapped in a giant spider web. Or maybe you feel more like Anakin during the ferocious lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi (aka Ben Kenobi) floating through the molten lava on the planet Mustafar?
Whatever your challenge, struggle, fear, loss, or uncertainty, Jesus (not The Force) can be trusted. He alone is the “light” that shows the way. His Word is the truth, the only true path to life everlasting. There is no “force” that can defeat Him. The Star Wars trilogies keep coming, it seems like the story may go on indefinitely. His story isn’t over either. It won’t go on indefinitely…Jesus says he’s coming back for those who trust in Him. Are you ready?
You don’t have to be or do anything extraordinary. You don’t have to go into training or change anything about yourself. Even if you’ve gotten off the path of light and gone down the dark side. God loves YOU. He created you and knows everything about you…and He loves you, right now, just as you are. He loves you so much that he sent his son Jesus to die for your sins. Jesus loves you so much that he set aside his divinity to become a human being, to experience all you will experience, and die a horrific death, so that you could have a life now and eternity with Him.
There is no one righteous, not even one (Rom 3:10)…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Rom 3:23-25). Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned (Rom 5:12); for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6:23). But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8).
No one else has the power to save you. No one else can be trusted 100% of the time. This isn’t an epic film production, but there are multiple endings that can be written. None of us know the when the final scene will happen for us, but God does. He’s got it all under control and He alone should win the Best Director award. Let him be the director of your life. Only He has the wisdom and the ability to see all the possibilities. Jesus is the true “light of the world” (John 8:12) and His Word the only “light unto your path” (Psalms 119:105).
It’s as easy as ABC. A – admit that you sin; B – believe that Jesus took your place, died for your sins; and C – commit your heart and life to Jesus, give Him control. You can just say those simple words, it doesn’t have to be fancy. There’s no script, remember you’re talking to God and he pretty much knows everything about you, especially your heart, and that’s all that matters.
God I am a sinner. I think and do so many things – little and big – that separate me from you. I believe that Jesus took my place on the cross. I believe that He died for my sins and that I am forgiven because Jesus gave his life for mine. I freely give you my life. I give you my heart. I let go of control, which is so very hard, and give it to you. I don’t know a lot, but I want to know you Jesus. I trust you with everything Lord. Amen.