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As I wait impatiently for The Force Awakens to be released, I find myself looking at myself and the way I attend church. I start to wonder: why can’t I be this impatient and excited about Sunday mornings? It’s been a very long time since I have found myself filled with the kind of excitement at church as I find when watching the newest trailers from Disney. And that’s starting to make me nervous.
You see, I’m a new dad. Three months ago I was introduced to the most amazing human being I’ve ever met. She drools on me, pukes and poops all over me and I’m in love. She wakes me up at three in the morning, every morning, and yet I can’t wait to spend another day with her. Getting up and leaving the house to go to work has never been this difficult before because it means I might miss the next big step in her growth. And I’ve almost never before been this excited to show my favorite things to someone new.
I can’t wait until she’s old enough for me to introduce her to Star Wars. I want to watch her amazement as she sees Luke trust the Force for the first time and turn the Death Star into rubble. I hope to see her shock and awe when she discovers that Vader didn’t actually kill Anakin Skywalker. (Spoil it for her and I will find you.) And I want to relearn through her what it’s like to fear for someone else’s safety when she sees Palpatine turn his power onto Luke.
Yet I’m not that excited to bring her to church on Sundays. It’s bothersome to wake up, get dressed and head out in the early morning on what is often my only free day of the week. It can be boring to sit in the pews and listen to another person tell you, at great lengths, what you need to do to change your life. It can also be frustrating, challenging, and at times guilt inducing.
As an adult I’ve never once held the same attention to a pastor as I have to Lucas’s imaginary world. I’ve always struggled with setting aside my distractions, my focus on myself, and lately my phone as I try to take in what someone else has researched and prepared. Yes sometimes I feel like I can excuse it, because the pastor is rambling, or it seems to be a boring conversation anyways, but the truth is that I really just don’t want to be “inconvenienced.” I don’t want to sacrifice my precious spare time to fit someone else’s plan. I don’t want to have to think about what God might want from me instead of just what I want.
The thing is, when I do drag myself out of bed and make an effort to listen, there have been many times where I’ve felt as if the message has been written just for me and what I’m going through. It’s something that I need to hear. Just as I can identify with Luke Skywalker and aspire to be as cool as Han Solo, I have also found times where everything that is being taught from a pulpit seems to have individual meaning for me and I can identify with Paul and David.
While I’m excited to learn from Yoda, I can and should also be happy to learn from Christ. I have to remember this as my daughter grows and looks to me for advice and encouragement when she herself might feel as I do now. If I want her to walk in these footsteps, I need to find the same excitement when I read to her about Daniel and the lions’ den as I have when I rewatch A New Hope.
While Sunday membership might not come with lightsabers and X-wings, I can still find joy in it, just as I will when I go to see The Force Awakens this week.