The Final Test of the Jedi
Star Wars changed the hearts and minds of a generation. I can still hear that somber, stirring music swell and wistfully shift towards hope as I watch Luke Skywalker staring out at a Tatooine sunset in the summer meadows of my childhood memories. It is hard for those who grew up in this latter age of technological marvels (which continues on even as I write this) to really understand why such sappy, corny, poorly written movies should mean so much to so many. I guess you had to be there.
Anyway, there is another moment etched into the mind of my youth from this series that echoes back to me through the years and means so much more to me now than it did then. It's Return of the Jedi. Luke has just surrendered to his father. Darth Vader examines his son's newly constructed lightsaber and makes a statement that resonates in the utmost center of my being. Just a couple of lines, but for me they burn as brightly as the green sword of light shining in his hand, "I see you have constructed a new lightsaber. Your skills are complete."
Fast-forward a few decades, to the days when I finally understood how all stories are reflections and echoes of Christ our Lord. Not long after I discovered through the Holy Spirit how the staff becomes the stake becomes the tree becomes the cross in story after story, all down through human history, or how the oil becomes the potion becomes the elixir becomes the medicine becomes the anointing of the Spirit, or how... (you get the point, I think) that quote came up through my subconscious to my waking mind. The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit in all Truth and Righteousness, but in echoes and reflections found in the minds of fallen humankind, it may appear to be Excalibur, Glamdring, Luke's lightsaber, and so on. I do not claim they are one and the same, but only that all these echoes and reflections bear similarities to the Source of all Story. I have written before about how the names in Star Wars carry echoes, or I might go into greater detail about that here (Great! But where is this going?).
As the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit, I am shown by the Spirit that there is a similarity in that a significant mark of the mature Christian is the ability (or at the very least a strong desire accompanied by action) to read and understand Scripture by aid of the Holy Spirit. He is able to keep your foot upon the Way if you love mercy, act justly, and walk humbly in the presence of our God. Now Love is to be desired above all things. Gifts of the Spirit also. But in skills, what mark is higher than to be able to discern right from wrong, divide truth from falsehood, indeed sunder soul and spirit, joints and marrow in the crafting of one's own understanding of the Word of God?
Forget everything else about Star Wars for a moment but this one aspect: The lightsaber is the sword of the hero of the tale. For one second, remember that Christ is our True Hero. All other heroes are not worthy of comparison, and yet if we are to gain insight, we must at least acknowledge that the stories have a source in the Story of Christ. Remember, I am not saying Luke is worthy of human affection or comparison with Christ in any way other than as a reflection and echo of Truth corrupted by the fallen flesh of his creator, like every other imagined hero. If the hero is real and the story non-fiction, then the corruption is his or her own flesh. But I'm veering off the course. Although I've enjoyed many stories, since I'm a human being, I want to be clear in stating that I'm not holding up anything other than Christ for the human heart to worship.
Anyway, we're considering the import of a sword made of light. Looking at Luke's particular case, since he's the hero of the tale, the light is green, like the light around the Throne in Revelation 4:3b, "And a rainbow was around the Throne, like in appearance to an emerald." Isn't that interesting? Stop a moment because important observations must be made. This requires patience and wisdom.
First, I find it interesting that the hero, who represents a type of savior, has a sword of light the same color as the rainbow surrounding the Throne. Am I saying Lucas did this deliberately? No. His intent is unimportant. The reflection exists because Christ is the center of everything. Does everything match up? No. If everyone was an exact copy of Christ, there would be no sin. Each character must be free to be individual while also being an echo.
Second, what translation am I quoting? If you're being as a Berean (Acts 17:11), you should be asking that question. I am quoting both all and none at once. And if you'd like, I can show you what I do and how I do it. Only, you will need guidance of the Holy Spirit of God to properly navigate the Way without falling into error. Heed my warning and search the Scriptures diligently to see if what I say is true.
You must perform these tasks in the Spirit. Performing them in the flesh will only lead you into error. If you set out to reason through His Word, you had better be careful. Wisdom of Man shall not avail you. I set out to know nothing but what God shows me. I do not attempt to toss aside the aid of other Christians in these searches, so I use the tools they've given me in accordance with the good works that God prepared for them. Here is a general outline of my process.
With the Spirit leading me to a particular verse or passage, I open the tools at my disposal. My spiritual toolbox includes software, books, physical bibles, and websites like biblehub.com. Quite often, I will open a verse in the parallel tab such as this. I usually then <CTRL> open the Greek or Hebrew language tab like so. I consider whether the Spirit leads me to a closer study of a given word, like perhaps this. I read until I have seen enough, which only the Spirit can tell.
Next, I look through all the verses in the parallel page again in light of the original language meaning, and begin to write, word by word in accordance with the Spirit and with what most of the scholars have already said. More often than not, every translation says almost the exact same thing. When translations seem to disagree greatly, I know for certain that one must turn to the Spirit and also dig more deeply into the language. I do take into consideration the reputation of the translation if there is one. If there isn't, I take that into consideration, too. I ask God to show me the way through. If the differences are exceedingly great, I ask God to show me the reason. If I find I cannot see a clear path through to translate the Word using all the tools at my disposal and seeking wisdom from God, I may back away carefully and simply defer to what others have written either by quoting a particular translation or simply citing book, chapter, and verse. Sometimes I may do this because I do not feel a deeper interaction with the text is necessary at a particular time, so if you see me not sharing my understanding of the Word in quotes, try not to jump to conclusions about what I may or may not have seen. In addition, when I work through a verse that's particularly difficult, I compare what I've seen with what I know already and what I see in other verses. I do this mostly for my own peace of mind since I'm trusting God to show me the way rather than reasoning through it.
And that's it. It sounds terribly simple, and it can be just that easy, but I repeat, you must do this in the Spirit. Otherwise you may go astray and find yourself going well beyond that which has been written. When Christ returns, I imagine then we will finally see the skills of the Christ-follower complete for God has said... Well, I'll let you look into this for yourself. Read Hebrews 8:10-11 and know that at that time, our skills will indeed be complete, and we will all be able to accurately translate the Word for ourselves. It is this Truth echoed in Vader's comments to Luke and indeed is the very reason for him saying it at all.
I will be sharing more posts like this. I've also got a few other plans in the works, God willing. If you're interested in learning more of that which the Spirit teaches, I can help. Thanks for reading. God bless!