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18 December 2015

Good news from a galaxy not so far away...

Good news from a galaxy not so far away...

I haven’t seen the new Star Wars film yet and I suspect you probably haven’t either. Maybe some of you managed to get tickets for the first day of the anticipated release, but more likely you’ve got tickets for tonight – like me – or for over the next few days and weeks. Or perhaps you’re the other species of being who just isn’t interested in Star Wars, thanks very much.
Regardless of your personal interest in the movie franchise, I’m assuming that you know that the newest instalment was released this week. It’s been kind of a big deal – a mega world premiere in Los Angeles, a mildly less-mega second premiere in London, and another semi-mega premiere in Sydney. Tickets are selling at a rate of one per second. People are really excited about this film.
And I’ve decided that this is a really good thing. There have been some truly horrific global and national events in the last few months – the ones we all know about like ParisSyria, and Beirut, and the ones we’ve missed, like the escalating violence and unrest in Burundi. Many of us will have spent time is sorrowful contemplation of the mess this world’s in.
So I think this Star Wars spectacular is a bit of welcome relief.
There are few truly global things that pull people together. There are plenty that pull us apart, pit us against one another because of our nationality, ethnicity, politics or gender, but few that truly unite a diverse crowd. I’m going to see this film at a 10:30pm showing this evening, not because I’m a Star Wars nut, but because my friends are going and I want to be part of something with them. And when I’m watching it in London, thousands of people across the globe will also be watching. Some of them will be dressed up and fully committed, bursting with happiness with every twist and turn of the plot, visuals and soundtrack, some will be eagle-eyed and looking for intricate inconsistencies, and some of us will just be along for the ride. But we’ll be together, united by the force (pun intended) of this global event.
There will be old people and young people, people of every skin tone and complexion, people of all languages and dialects, people male and female. A film of this size destroys barriers – only the remotest, most isolated people will be unable to access this film in one way or another. The vast majority of our global community will be able to see and experience this phenomenon if they choose. Not everyone will, but the point is that they could be.
And this leads me to think about Jesus. This global unity is a picture of heaven, albeit distorted, and it brings to mind that great promise of what is to come: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10).
For those of us who know and love Jesus, it will be similar to those times when we’ve joined with others so different from us, but so the same – children of God, bought by Jesus, raised to glory. 
And for those who don’t know Jesus, what an opportunity to remind them that if they think Star Wars is good, wait until they hear the good news that started a long time ago, in a galaxy that’s not so far away… And then we need to tell them about Jesus, obviously.

Alexandra Davis is communications assistant at the Evangelical Alliance.

Friday Night Theology will return in the new year.

Image: JD Cooper

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