I’ve got a problem. I can’t stop checking for updates on the status of Star Wars: Episode VIII.
I keep swearing to myself that I’m not going to google anything related to the film franchise, but without fail, I lose my resolve, and before I know it I find myself swimming in rumors, spoilers, and theories.
None of this is even to mention Rian Johnson’s (the film’s director) latest picture on Instagram of his first day of editing. As you can imagine, I’m now on high alert for any more news or snapshots of the film.
Like I said: I’ve got a problem.
And I can’t help it. I can’t keep myself from looking up stuff about Star Wars because of a simple reality: I love Star Wars.
I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. I would play in the garage, pretending that I was Luke Skywalker, reenacting the iconic moment in A New Hope when he and Leia use a grappling hook to swing across the bridgeless chasm in the Death Star. Of course, I didn’t have a chasm; I had a blue mattress that worked just as well.
Even as an adult, I still love pretending to inhabit the universe of Star Wars as I play with my daughters, and you can bet your life that I’m doing the best I can to pass on my love for these stories to them. And my wife and I have been sure to start them out young; in fact, we even used Sphero’s remote control BB-8 to entice our little one to crawl.
With Star Wars playing such a central role in my life and now in the life of my family, it’s hardly any surprise that I wouldn’t be able to restrain myself from checking my news feed daily to see if Disney has released anything more to temporarily sate my hunger for more on the next installment in the saga.
I love Star Wars, and I long for the new film, and so I keep looking for signs of its imminent arrival, an arrival that I have been promised.
Now, I know that googling information every day is a bit obsessive, and I also know that new information doesn’t show up more days than it does. And yet I keep checking because I want new information; I long to know what is going on in post-production, and so I compulsively and habitually look for tastes (even if only morsels) to appease my hunger.
Philosopher James K.A. Smith writes about this phenomenon in You Are What You Love:
To be human is to be for something, directed toward something, oriented toward something. To be human is to be on the move, purusing something, after something. We are like existential sharks: we have to move to live. We are not just static containers for ideas; we are dynamic creatures directed toward some end. (p. 8)
According to Smith, my fanaticism can actually be tied back to what it is to be human. To live is to love. The sad thing is, however, that as a Christian, I know that this love, this movement toward an end must be reserved for the one promised end: the Kingdom of God.
As much as it pains me to admit, my love for Star Wars has actually co-opted my love for the Kingdom.
If I longed for the Kingdom in the same way that I long for Episode VIII, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that my energy would be directed toward seeing it now. The words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” would guide my life, leading me to desire God’s Kingdom here and now.
Instead of primarily looking for signs of the coming of Episode VIII, I would look for signs of the coming Kingdom, recognizing in my neighbors the image of God. I may even direct my own time and effort toward manifesting God’s Kingdom in my own life, serving the poor, forgiving my enemies, and teaching my own children to meditate on the story of God and to long for God’s things in their lives.
The Kingdom of God is coming, whether we like it or not. It may not be coming as quickly as the new Star Wars movie, but it will last far longer. The question that lies before each of us is whether we will receive its advent joyfully or whether we will receive it begrudgingly. Honestly, if the Kingdom of God comes before December 15, 2017, I don’t know that I can say that I’ll be terribly happy about it.
Lord, have mercy.
The good news, however, is that love can be retrained. Indeed, I’ve already shown that I have great capacity for anticipating the good things of the future; now I just need to orient it toward God and God’s things. To be human is to love; you can’t help it. So if we’re going to learn to love something, let’s practice loving that which is eternal, that which is above all else.
Kylo Ren: Depositphotos
Star Wars Fans: Depositphotos
Christian is a Young Adult Ministries Coordinator for Y2AM. He is a husband, father, mover, shaker, coffee drinker, sandal wearer, and CrossFitter. Christian has his first MA from Azusa Pacific University in Marriage and Family Therapy and a second MA in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry from Luther Seminary. Christian and his family live in Phoenix, Arizona.
Want more from Y2AM? Subscribe to our email list and get weekly tips for your spiritual life every Monday! And you can support Y2AM even more by becoming a monthly Patreon supporter. As little as $1 a month can help us continue the work we’re doing.