While in the Bad Lands, every so often, my mind would come back to previous two posts on Luke Skywalker and the Heidelberg Catechism. I know, I’m weird. I’m taking an old document and comparing it to the Catechism (can you hear the rim shot? Just me? Never mind). The Heidelberg Catechism was written in the later part of the 1500’s in a German province called, ready for this, Heidelberg. Yeah. Original name huh? But it was written to instruct the youth in what the church believed.
Honestly, it was a time of spiritual unrest. The newly formed protestants were striking out in some ways, trying to show who they were, to create their identity (okay, bad play on the opening crawl of A New Hope) Since 1517, all of Europe was trying to figure out who they were. The Church was changing. And the Rebel Alliance…I mean the Reformed Church, was trying to tell people what they believed and why it was important. Hence the Catechism. (Catechism by the way just means a teaching method, nothing else. It’s from some Latin word).
One of the things I find interesting with Luke Skywalker is the change he goes through, the growth he has. At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, he was still a kid. He was worse for wear, had some daddy issues and had major surgery. But still a kid. When we see him again a year later in Return of the Jedi, he’s older. As Indiana Jones put it, it’s not the years, it’s the mileage. Luke had grown up into who he was. He was told he’d be a Jedi master one day, and now he has fully grown into that role.
But he still had one more battle to fight. The battle with his own past, with the Darkside. With his pain, with his anger, with his hate.
The Catechism asks: How do you come to know your misery? How does Luke come to know his misery? He warned about it from Obi-Wan and Yoda. He learns from the Force that the Darkside is tempting. And he’s lured into it by Darth Vader and the Emperor. But how do we really come to know our misery? Our own draw to the Darkside? The Catechism answers: The Law of God tells me.
What is the Law of God? Here is a good summary of it:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
We can all agree to that, right? These are good things we can do, right? But even still, there is that struggle. We can struggle with even these two simple things.
Even though Luke knew of the horror of what the Darkside might do to him, he was still tempted to follow it. Even when Palpatine was shooting him like crazy with that lightening from his finger tips, he was still being tempted to the Darkside.
That is where we come to know our own misery. Not when things are going well, but when we’re getting all fried from Force lightening. When we’re tempted, when we’re lured. We come to know our misery when we find the truth out about ourselves. We may not lose a hand in the process, but when we truly know the truth about who we are, we are drawn more and more into the Darkside of our lives.
It took a lot of work for Luke to not succumb to the Darkside. But most importantly, it took daddy himself, Darth Vader, to deliver Luke from the torture of the Emperor. After his father saved him, Luke still had a choice, go down the path to the Darkside or go along the path which we had been on, the tough one, the arduous one. He chose the narrow path. A tough call.
Which will you take? It’s a hard choice sometimes. Even Luke had to struggle with it each day. Which will you follow? You know you’re misery, now how will you deal with it? Trust in Jesus or try to go at it on your own?
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (to the Darkside), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14