Film Friday: Star Wars: The Last jedi

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Rey tracks down a reluctant Luke Skywalker, in his cliff side home. He is hiding out there having cut himself off from The Force. But Rey knows he is the last Jedi and she needs his help to fight the malevolent First Order as they prepare to destroy the last remnants of the rebel alliance. The good rebels continually find themselves up against the wall against the might of the Empire. If it weren’t for the courage and ingenuity of a few dedicated fighters they would have been destroyed long ago. Oh yes, and the secret power of The Force. Will Luke think again and help Rey? He will if Rey has anything to do with it. She refuses to let him be, badgering him to help her.

The battle against good and evil continues, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away… as it continues here, in this galaxy, today, not so far away and not so long ago. And like the epic battles in Star Wars, the good guys often feel themselves under threat, drawing on their own faith, ingenuity, skills, strengths and personalities. It’s not popular to talk of spiritual forces in parts of today’s scientific world. Bits of the media would have us believe that what you see and touch is what you get. But it’s clear to many that life consists of more than the physical dimension. Star Wars draws on this notion with its reference to The Force – an unseen power that some tune into – always around but invisible, only obvious when believers draw upon it.

Strange creatures, huge armies, heroes, villains, death, peril, rescue, fire, fighting, weird scenery, deserts, floods and planets. The Star Wars epics play out like something from the book of Revelation. We are now on no 8 of 9 films. Maybe John in the Bible lay on his back in his own personal multiplex and watched his own Star Wars epic play out on the 3D wide screen of the sky over the island of Patmos, with surround-sound blasting at him from all sides. The vision was given to him to pass onto others to encourage them to keep fighting the battle for good, and for God. Not with light sabres and Millennium Falcons, but with the weapons that Paul describes in chapter 6 of his e-pistle to a bunch calling themselves The Ephesians. ‘Get weaponed up,’ he wrote, ‘pick up the blast shield of faith, the light-sabre of God’s spirit, the body armour of truth, the head-gear of salvation, the boots of peace and the ammo belt of truth. Put all this on and be prepared for a tough tussle.’ These weapons are not showy or brash or the kind of things that sell PC games, but they are passed onto us down the centuries of faith by millions who have quietly found them to make a huge difference. It’s not always easy to live for God and follow Jesus; Jesus himself described it as going through a narrow gate, a thin road, and many choose to take another direction. But, like the beleaguered rebels in The Last Jedi, we are called to battle on, in spite of the odds, showing that we believe in another way, another kind of life, and another Creator who has our best interests at heart.

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