“The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John” (Revelation 1:1 NIV)
A few weeks ago, my wife and I had a chance to see the new Star Wars movie “The Force Awakens”. In order to not read any “spoliers” I stayed away from as many reviews as I possibly cloud, alnog with anything anyone may have posted on social media. Even then, I understood most of the reviews were fairly positive, certainly in light of the prequel trilogy.
Of course, no matter how hard you try you’re bound to discover a few things. One of the comments I came across was that some expressed a disappointment the movie seemed to be a simple remake of the first movie, except for some minor differences(female versus male protagonist for example). That’s always discouraging to hear. I thought to myself, why remake the first movie all over again? Is Hollywood so bereft of talent and ideas that they produce nothing original and entertaining? (Don’t answer that).
For the world, we both thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Some interesting new ideas and characters. I’m Ok with everything not being tied up with a bow at the end. After all it’s another trilogy, so they need to let the story fill itself out in it’s on due time.
But there is no getting around the fact on the surface it does appear to be a retread of the first. “Hey let’s take the hero from the first movie, a young man, orhpan (or is he) on a desert planet dreaming of something bigger and replace him with a young woman on a desert planet, and orphan (or is she) dreaming of something bigger”. It’ll totally work.
But as I said, that’s only on the surface. I wonder if there isn’t something else going on. Remember that the movies are steeped in Eastern religion and mysticism. Themes of balance between good and evil instead of the ultimate destruction of evil. It may be what we see in the film is not so much a lack of originality as it is a nod to the Eastern idea that not only history, but the world repeats itself. Just like the seasons repeat themselves, so does the world with a history of war then peace etc. The world and the universe, why time itslef is simply set on reboot mode every so often. Sort of a cosmic, karmic version of Bill Murray’s “Groundhod Day”.
Many of us seem to believe that’s how the universe operates. We say things like, “What goes around, comes around.” We accept ideas like Karma and talk about how history repeats itself. I can understand the attraction. There’s something comforting about the notion that the guy who cuts me off in traffic will get his some day, I suppose. Except, deep down, that never seems to happen. Karma seems to have some big gaps.
But while it’s comforting, it’s not really a Biblical understanding of time at all. The Scriptures, and through them our Christian faith, has a much better understanding of time and history. In the end this concept proves to be far more satisfying than the Eastern idea of history repeating itself.
The book of Revelation helps us to understand that time is not repeating itself but moving forward. It tells us that while we may experience certain events in history (War, times of peace, famine, times of plenty) that God has an ultimate plan for all of us. Revelation, as hard as it may be to understand, at its core remind us that God sits on the throne even in times of chaos or persecution. It tells us that even in the darkest moments of life God has His hand on our lives and on the universe. Most importantly, it tells us that in the end, evil does not triumph. Evil will end. There is a far greater plan for all of us when Jesus returns as the victor over all things.
This is how we as Christians have hope when it seems we may be stuck in the repeat cycle. Even on days when we feel as if we can’t get ahead, we know it will not always be like this. Our sorrow will end, the tear will be wiped from our eyes, our sins will lose their power and be cast far from us. Better than “The Force” is the hope that awakens within all of us when we know Jesus will return and joy and peace will be eternal.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><