Those of you that know me know my love of Star Wars. I was born in 1983 about a month and a half before Return of the Jedi hit theaters. I grew up during the lean-times of fandom, so like many fans my age, I like to say that I was a Star Wars fan before Star Wars was cool (again). Aside from 2 made-for-tv Ewok movies, the only Star Wars we had were VHS copies of the trilogy. Starting in Junior High, I soaked up the Star Wars novels, including Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire trilogy. His trilogy launched the Expanded Universe and garnered fan interest and got us ready for the prequels.
Why am I a fan? It might be the space-ships, lightsabers, blasters, and battles. But it's the story arc and myth that peak my interest. It is ultimately a story about family: about a father, son, goodness, and redemption. Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side of the Force, and becomes the most evil and feared individual in a galaxy far, far, away, Darth Vader. His son, Luke Skywalker, knows there is still good in him. Luke eventually confronts Vader and the Emperor. The Emperor nearly kills Luke until Vader, seeing his son in agony, throws the Emperor down the Death Star shaft, injuring himself in the process.
In what I view as the most emotional scene in all of the story, the newly-redeemed but fatally-wounded Vader asks Luke to take his mask off, so he can see his son with his own human eyes. Luke tells him he'll die if the mask comes off, but Vader insists. Then comes the real gut-punch-tear-inducing-heave-cry moment.
Vader/Anakin: Now go my son. Leave me.
Luke: No, you're coming with me. I'll not leave you here. I've got to save you.
Vader/Anakin: You already have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me. Tell your sister, you were right.
😳 ***sniff*** I can't help you if you're not emotional after this scene.
Much has been written about Star Wars and Christianity. A Google search will bring lots of articles and books. One cannot help but see the similarity between "May the Force be with you" and "May the Lord be with you". George Lucas did grow up in a strong Methodist home and it certainly shows. It is not an exact analogy; there is the influence of eastern thought in there too. Myself and my pastor friends will warn that a Christian must be careful not to put Force theology into Christ theology. Regardless, the redemption story in Star Wars helps inform Christians of Jesus' victory over the real dark-side of our universe - sin and death. He, Christ, redeems the unredeemable through His death and resurrection. Every time John Williams' Force Theme swells to its crescendo, that's ultimately what I think about, and what brings me back. We are not lost, but redeemed.
That's why I'm a fan. Plus, lightsabers are cool.
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