All the hoopla about the new Star Wars movie has reminded me of something I saw in my local newspaper when Episode VI Return of the Jedi was released. Many of the people waiting in line to be among the first to view the film were interviewed, and one of them commented, “I don’t need religion. I’ve got Star Wars!”
Really? I don’t see Luke Skywalker crucified for our sins. And I can’t imagine an eternity watching Star Wars movies over and over again. And again. And again, ad infinitum. Star Wars is fun, but it’s just a movie.
God tells us in the very first of His commandments “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) Back then other gods were Zeus, Thor, or maybe a Roman Emperor. You don’t see a whole lot of that sort of worship today. Been asked to offer a pinch of incense to Caesar lately?
But we have a lot of other gods to worship. Twice the Bible tells us that where our treasure is, there also will our hearts be (Matthew 6:21, Luke 12:34). Some folks who will stand in line for days to see Star Wars or buy the latest electronic gizmo somehow can’t find time for prayer. Come Sunday, how many people worship at the altar Sports rather than the altar at Mass? Money, sex, drugs, alcohol, shopping—all are worshipped by someone.
The problem is we’re restless. We’ve got a God-sized hole in our hearts, and we’ll try to fill it with just about anything. These other gods do bring some happiness; otherwise they would not be worshipped. But the pleasure is not only temporary, it is incomplete. Soon another “fix” is needed to fill the emptiness.
Another problem is that it doesn’t look like even God—Whom you can’t see or touch–is going to quench humanity’s desires. As G.K. Chesterton put it, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” We want the quick way, the easy way, the entertaining way, certainly not the way that tells us to daily pick up a cross and follow Christ.
Yet there is no other way but Christ who is The Way.
“Thou has made us for Thyself,” St. Augustine once said, “and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” Maybe those who prefer Star Wars to Jesus will get restless enough to search for something else, something greater, something far more fulfilling.
Maybe. But I’m, unfortunately, not holding my breath.