Tuesday, August 18, 2009

may the force be with you

On May 27, 1977 the movie Star Wars was released and a new expression rushed into our lexicon and seemed to work its way into almost every conversation: "May the Force be with you." Though it sounds a little kitsch now, there's actually something profoundly biblical about that expression that actually helps me understand the gospels better.

When John begins his gospel with, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us," he's not saying that the Bible became flesh; he's actually saying something closer to The Force became flesh and dwelt among us.

When John wrote his gospel around 90 A.D. the dominate culture--Greek-speaking Helenistic people--believed that there was a mysterious, other-worldly, bigger-than-life divine force that was behind all their lesser gods and that held the universe together. They called that unknown entity, or unifying principle, the Logos, the Force.

So when John writes that the Logos became flesh, he's telling his Helenistic audience that the unknown Force that they've always acknowledged is out there and is ultimate, the Force that's behind everything, that Force has appeared in flesh and blood and it has a name: Jesus. This intangible thing you've always called the Force is called Jesus. He is the Force, the Force is God, and the Force has come to live among us. That would have rocked their worldview and their lives. And it should rock ours too.

May the Force be with you.