I have a confession to make: When every I come to an automatic door, I pretend I’m a Jedi. I quickly do that whole swipe the hand thing as I approach the automatic doors, and then they open. Yes, I know it’s a whole thing based on sensors and what not, but still, there’s something in the imagination that makes me just want to pretend to be a Jedi using the Force.
The Jedi have drawn a lot of attention over the years. People around the world even declare it their religion on census forms. In England, there’s a whole religion of Jedism that is apparently defended under UK laws.
There’s a draw to this fictional order first found in the Star Wars movies (and later the Expanded Universe, though that is not canon). People are drawn to the ideals of solid ethics, morality, honor, and a strong sense of justice. There’s something noble about the Jedi that draws people to them. It’s more than being able to say “These are not the droids you are looking for.” It’s a lot more. The very idea of being a Jedi is so appealing because, well, they’re the Jedi.
I find it interesting that God’s people were to be kinda the same way back in the Old Testament. When Jesus brought the people of Israel out of Egypt by parting the Red Sea, He called them to Mount Sinai and gave them a way to live for Him in such a way that they would actually reflect His character.
He tells them
“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Exodus 19:4-6
The priest in the Israelite religion was to be the one who spoke to God on behalf of the people and led the people in worshiping God. The people of Israel were to do that for all the nations around them. Not just that, but they were to be God’s holy nation. To be holy is to be set apart. Not just that, but to be holy is to be different, so different in fact that in a holistic way, all things fit together like an awesome Janga game. They were to live in such a way that they showed who God was and that all the other people of all the other nations wanted to know who God was.
Later, through the prophet Isaiah, God says to His people
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and make you to be a covenant people and a light for the Gentiles (Gentiles were people who weren’t Jewish, that is, the other nations), to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeons, those who sit in darkness.” Isaiah 42:6-7
God’s people were to show the way to everyone else so that people would want to come to know God. They were to live out a different ethic, a different morality, a different idea of honor and justice. A lot like how people are drawn to the Jedi for these reasons, these reasons were to draw people to God.
As a follower of Jesus, this is my call as well. Heck, this is the call to all followers of Jesus. Peter writes
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
That’s just what God said in Exodus 19. Dude! It all fits together!
The Jedi are different. They are just different enough from the world we see around us that people are drawn to the Jedi ideals. This sense of honor, ethic, morality, justice is so appealing. Yet in Jesus, there is a different ethic, a different morality, a different idea of justice that is so different than the world around us. Yet do people see it the same way the see the Jedi Order.
The thing about the Jedi is that there is always the lure to the Dark Side of the Force. There is anger, greed, fear, hatred. There is power play, there is doing things for one’s own good in order to get what you yourself want. And we don’t like that. Yet that, in many ways, is what’s prevalent around us. And the Jedi are to be different than that.
As a follower of Jesus, that different ethic from the world around us is so important. The idea of living in such a way that people are drawn to know more about Jesus is so different. Followers of Jesus are to be different, to be holy in the way of being holistically set a part in such a way that people see a difference in them that is not seen in the world around us. They are to be lights, like a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Michigan, letting boats know the safety of the shipping lane, or drawn to shore for safe harbor during storms.
The Jedi draw people to them because they really are different. Do followers of Jesus do the same? Or are they just like the world around them?
Maybe I don’t really want to be a real Jedi (though it’d be awesome to be able to do things lie the Jedi mind trick of moving things or doing cool flips) but I do want to be an authentic follower of Jesus is who different just enough that people see something different and want to know more. And then, be able to tell why I try to live differently with a different ethic, morality, honor, and sense of Justice.
I wonder if I can really do that?