Tuesday, December 29, 2015

“When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.” ― Fred Rogers

In 1977, I took my oldest son, ten years old at the time, to see a new movie called “Star Wars.”   And not just at any old theater, but at the Plitt Theater in Century City in Los Angeles, the best and most high tech movie theater in the country at that time.  A huge screen, incredible sound, large, reclining seats, with places in the arm rests for the Heinekens beer or wine they sold at the concession stand that you could take to your seats.  The critics had already decided this movie would be a dud because there had been no science fiction films in decades that had done well.  The studio that made it wasn’t sure it would be a hit either and gave George Lucas all the merchandising profits (action figures, games, toy light sabers, etc.) which turned out to the be the wrong thing for them to do.   The original “Star Wars” was basically a western set in the future.  There were the organized and well-funded evil forces fighting against the little guys (big ranch owners versus small farmers) and there was no sheriff or marshall to represent law and order, so the good guys had to take the law into their own hands.  There was a damsel in distress, a bad guy who wore black, lots of shooting, ambushes, and a finale where one person managed to destroy the whole evil empire.  It was a story that had been told before but never with the excitement, special effects, sound effects, and hype surrounding this one, and it grew to become an institution that is still packing them in.  People love to see fights between good and evil where good ultimately triumphs in spite of obstacles that seem impossible to overcome.  Christmas reminds us that Christ predicted the same thing, that evil would never triumph.  One of my favorite quotes from Gandhi is this one, “Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.”  Gandhi didn’t use light sabers or guns but non-violent opposition as did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Christ would not have condoned the violence in the “Star Wars” movies, but He would have understood our desire to see peace reign at the end.  It’s just that for Christians, that eternal reign of peace may be in a “galaxy far, far away” or wherever heaven happens to be.  The  destruction of evil and the triumph of good will always be popular because in the end, it what all of us want, especially Christians.  Christ lived, died, and rose to show us the way and the why.
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