We live in a media-saturated culture. Each day thousands of promotional messages clamor for our attention. Television has become our national storyteller, with the TV screen becoming a focal point in most of our family rooms. But we can find prayer in our media culture — even “Star Wars.”
What has prayer got to do with our media culture? Everything. Even if you were to “kill your television” and attempt to ban all brand-name advertising from entering your home, your life would still be heavily influenced by media. That’s because most of us have not attempted to remove ourselves completely from the media culture and we are your neighbors, friends and co-workers. So the influence seeps in.
This one’s for the “Star Wars” fans. And if you’re unfamiliar with the series, this exercise will give you a chance to look at a piece of popular media in a prayerful, intentional way. The producers of these visual stories are people, like you, on a spiritual journey. Their creativity and imagination, like yours, are gifts from God. When you use media in prayer, you are allowing their gifts to be a window to the Divine.
Exercise: Meditation on “The Force” in Star Wars
Embedded in the Star Wars mythology is the concept of “the force” — an unseen spirit that guides faithful Jedi Knights but can also be used for evil by the dark side. Creator George Lucas admits that the force is a religious symbol, and it is closely associated by many Star Wars fans (especially Christian ones) with God’s Spirit.
This is a short, powerful meditation comparing our understanding of God’s Spirit with that of “The Force” in Star Wars. Begin by watching the original Star Wars film — found in many libraries or at the video rental store — and pay particular attention to the scenes where Luke Skywalker faces “the force.”
Intention: To reflect on “the force” as a metaphor for Holy Spirit
- Find the scene in which Luke turns off his computer and trusts “The Force” as he makes the move to destroy the Death Star. Have it ready to play. Also have a journal ready if you want to write your reflections.
- Begin in silent, centering prayer, using “Come, Holy Spirit” as your sacred words. Whenever other thoughts come to mind, return to your sacred words. Do this for 10 minutes in preparation.
- Play the scene. Pause for silence and play the scene again.
- How is “the force” similar to the Holy Spirit? Spend several minutes pondering this. Write in your journal if you like.
- How is “the force” different from the Holy Spirit?
- Play the scene again, but this time watch for the production elements (music, visuals, dialogue and more) that the creator of the film has used to entice us to associate “the force” with our own religious symbols. What did you notice about the production elements?
- Play the scene again and notice how Luke’s struggle or situation might speak to your own life right now.
- Where do you feel God’s “force” moving most deeply within you as you watch that scene?
- End as you began, in silent, centering prayer, using “Come, Holy Spirit” as your sacred words.
-If you enjoy this prayer, watch all the Star Wars films and do this same exercise with other scenes involving “the force.”
-For a Christian viewpoint on Star Wars mythology, check out Dick Staub’s Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters (Jossey Bass, 2005).
Looking for More?
If you like this prayer and are looking for even more ways to pray, you might enjoy my book, “50 Ways to Pray,” from Abingdon Press. You’ll find this prayer and 49 others to experiment with.
Want to try spiritual direction? I have openings in my schedule for new directees — regardless of where you live. I can work by phone, Skype or if you live in the Phoenix metro area we can meet in person. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.teresablythe.net.
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