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A Jedi Christian’s Weapons

February 12, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has broken box office records. The franchise has widespread appeal; people from many cultures and generations are drawn to the conflict between good and evil. We feel the pull to the dark side, and hope to be rescued by the power of The Force.

In his book, Wisdom of the Jedi Masters, Dick Staub notes: “The light-versus-dark dualism of Jedi lore parallels teachings found in Christian scripture . . . John talked about ‘walking in the light’ as Jesus is in the light and warned against having anything to do with the works of ‘darkness.’ The Judeo-Christian tradition tells stories of wonder workers such as Moses, Samson, David and Elijah, who were so empowered by God that they worked wonders, parting the waters of the Red Sea, and defeating a heavily armed giant with a slingshot and five smooth stones (in Star Wars terminology, they would be called ‘strong in the force’). Jedi Christians believe that over and above the opposing forces of light and darkness there is a Lord over all, including the Force. These Christians call this Lord of the Force, God.” (Staub, Wisdom of the Jedi Masters, Jossey-Bass, 2005, pp. 4-5).

Similarly, the gospel lesson[1] portrays a battle between the forces of light and dark. Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit (“strong in the force”) “ . . . was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” (Luke 4: 1-2, NIV). [2] An epic spiritual battle, between God and Satan occurred during those forty days. Why did the Spirit lead Jesus into the desert to be tempted? One explanation is that it “shows us that Jesus was human, and it gave Jesus the opportunity to reaffirm God’s plan for his ministry. It also gives us an example to follow when we are tempted.” (Note, Life Application Bible, NIV p.1648).

Jesus demonstrates some techniques to use when we are put to the test. His response to the first temptation, was a scriptural reference to the forty years that the Israelites were forced to stay in the desert to “humble” and “test” them: “It is written: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” (Luke 4: 4, Deuteronomy 8:2,3). Jesus responds again with Scripture to the second temptation: “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” (Luke 4:8, Deuteronomy 6:13). At that point, the devil changed tactics, quoting Scripture back to him: “’He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you carefully; they will lift up their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” (Luke 4:10,11; Psalm 91:11,12). But the devil misuses Psalm 91, written to show how God is our protector and refuge– not to encourage people to ask God to demonstrate his power. Jesus responds with Scripture again: “’It says: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Luke 4:12, Deuteronomy 6:16).

Reading Scripture is an oft used method of staying the course and getting through times of trials. An example of that was described by Corrie ten Boom in The Hiding Place. Her family was arrested and thrown into concentration camps during World War II because they hid Jews in their home, and helped them escape the Nazis in Holland.  Corrie and her sister, Betsie, were moved several times before they reached their final destination: Ravensbruck, Germany, the infamous women’s extermination camp. By what can only be described as the grace of God, they were able to get through numerous checkpoints and inspections with their Bible. They maintained hope throughout their imprisonment through Bible readings and worship services.

Jesus was approached by the devil when he was most vulnerable. He was alone in the desert, without people or resources to call upon. We are also often tempted when we are most vulnerable—weak, lonely or stressed.  Jesus demonstrates that it is not enough to know Scripture—even the devil was able to quote it—but that we must follow Scripture’s teachings. He gave us an example of obedience in his resistance to the three temptations. In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul lists the items of armor that we can don to fight our own spiritual battles, and reminds us that prayer is also a powerful tool in our battle against evil forces (Ephesians 6:18).

The Word of God is the only offensive weapon in Paul’s list of armor.  Staub observes: “The Jedi knight’s most important weapon was the elegant and powerful lightsaber, and the Christian counterpart’s most potent weapon is the word of God, which functions like a sword. The writer of Hebrews said, ‘For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword . . .” (Wisdom of the Jedi Masters, p. 144, Hebrews 4:12).

Be a Jedi Christian. Use the armor and weapons at your disposal, including your lightsaber, the Word of God. And may the force of God be with you.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The texts for the First Sunday in Lent are Psalm 91: 1-13; Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Romans 10:8b-13; and Luke 4:1-13.

[2] Since Jesus was alone in the desert, scholars assume that Jesus recounted the event to the disciples when he returned, who passed it onto Paul, then Luke.


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