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The X-Wing will rise} ?> Sometimes you find a place that is so inspiring that every time you go back you discover something new. Something powerful. Something that connects with you.
There is a place like that for me in The Empire Strikes Back, on an unassuming planet called Dagobah.
I remember the first time I saw the misty swamp of Dagobah. I remember how I felt. My father took me to see Star Wars: Episode V when I was a boy. That powerful scene where Luke fights Darth Vader in the cave impacted me to such a degree that I was convinced the Sith lord was right behind me, that any moment I would hear his rasping breath.
But what draws me to the story is not just the exhilarating lightsaber fights, the chilling carbonite, or the Millennium Falcon (my dream ship). I am most intrigued by how the small, wise, green Jedi Yoda trains his eager student, Luke Skywalker.
And the more I look back on it, the more I revisit that bog in Dagobah, the more I begin to understand why.
Luke originally goes to Dagobah because he sees a vision of Obi-Wan telling him to do so. Talk about a leap of faith, especially since Luke is possibly going crazy from almost freezing to death at the time. When he gets there, Luke’s X-Wing crashes into the bog on Dagobah. He meets Yoda and then tries to use the force to lift his ship out, but he fails and watches the X-Wing sink.
Luke: Oh, no. We’ll never get it out now.
Yoda: So certain are you. Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?
As a Christian watching this film, my faith is encouraged each time I see this scene. There is something in the exchange between Yoda and Luke that is a cryptic reminder of exchanges Jesus has had with me. I’m reminded of times when I’ve questioned what I believe in and when I’ve had to trust someone. Of believing that what someone says is true even if the circumstances appear to indicate otherwise.
Of trusting in a power far greater than myself to accomplish things I could not hope to do on my own.
Somehow the challenges Luke goes through in understanding the Force are similar to the challenges I face in understanding God. Like Luke, I know there is much more for me to experience. And like Luke, I need to be willing to stay in training to exercise my faith.
It challenges me to ask what I really believe about Jesus’ words in the Bible. When he says, “Greater works than these will you do because I go to the Father,” do I believe that? Do I believe Jesus’ words, or am I more like Luke’s response:
Luke: Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different.
In the problems I face, do I look to Christ’s words and say that it was fine for him to work miracles back in the day, but somehow his miracle working power, the true “Force,” has faded over time and can’t be used today. But Yoda disagrees.
Yoda: No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.
Instead of believing Yoda, Luke finds a new excuse. I’ve done this before, too. I’ll find an excuse to avoid doing something I know is right. And it’ll seem like a perfectly good excuse too, just like Luke telling Yoda that lifting the ship with the Force is impossible.
Luke: I can’t. It’s too big.
Yoda: Size matters not…
Yoda reflects Jesus’ wisdom: “Nothing is impossible for those who believe.”
Luke has reached the end. He does not believe. Then he watches Yoda use the force to lift the X-Wing out of the bog.
Luke: I don’t…I don’t believe it.
Yoda: That is why you fail.
Dagobah is one of my places where I am inspired to believe. To not give up. To not think that the X-Wing in my life or the one in someone else’s life will stay in that bog. I believe that faith has the power to move mountains, if not X-Wings as well.
I believe that the X-Wing can and will rise.
I believe that what I have been told is true.
I believe that my faith matters.