A cultural craze erupted recently with the release of Episode VII of the Star Wars saga. The subtitle of the film was appropriately, “The Force Awakens”, because as the story progresses, the characters become aware of a greater power within them. This “Force” is meant to be used for good, and never for evil, despite temptation from the “dark side”.
The nerd in me enjoys a good sci-fi movie. I like seeing fights in space, weird creatures giving wise advice, and handsome gentlemen attempting to rescue supposed damsels in distress. The triumph of good over evil is a plot line that never ceases to thrill me. I’m intrigued by the symbolism modern movies sometimes portray. The “Force” in the Star Wars galaxy makes me think of the force of love and hate in our world.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “Our love is a force sustained by a higher force”, in a sermon he preached on August 15, 1880, titled, The Secret of Loving God. His words coincide with John’s writings in 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” (NIV, 2005) The higher force of God’s love sent His Son to die on the Cross and provide redemption for all who believe in Him. This powerful, compelling love reaches into our hearts, souls, and minds. It changes us from the inside out. John further says in his Epistle, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (NIV, 2005)
In the movie, Rey, the female lead, has no desire to participate in the Force’s powers until her friends are threatened. Then she springs into action, using all her strength to wield the Force against her enemies. She learns to be self-sacrificing. This is how God moves us to action: We understand that without the sacrifice of Jesus, we would be lost. So, then in recognition of the great love of God that gave us salvation, we respond with love, grace, and hope for our world.
“Dear friends,” John pleads 1 John 4:11 (NIV, 2005), “Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” When we truly understand the redemptive work of Jesus on the Cross, we are motivated to action. We can’t help but live with His love poured over us. This love compels us to give to the needy. This love urges us to pray for our all country’s leaders. This love instructs us to speak kindly and wisely in our relationships. This love moves us to compassionate outreach to the hurting. This love covers shame, guilt, and fear.
On Christmas Eve of last year, Red Rocks Church in Denver, invited any person attending the service to take money from the offering basket if they were in need. “There is no shame,” Pastor Chad Bruegman stated. No one would judge the takers. Love had hands and feet that evening. Love passed the offering basket around the building. If I may use a Star Wars term in reference to the church, “The Force is strong with this one.”
That’s what God’s love does. It awakes within us. It revives our lives. Imagine if we let the force of God’s love overtake us completely. Would not then we be living as Jesus commanded? “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another?” John 13:34 (NIV, 2005) By the time Rey and her friends were born in the Star Wars Saga timeline, the Jedi knights had become a myth. Their power was forgotten. No one hoped in them anymore. Let’s not let the love of God become an ancient song. Let’s allow Him to fill us up. The watch as His irresistible, gracious love is unleashed on the world through us.