How do you identify yourself? When you meet someone new, what facets of your life do you mention first as an introduction? For some, it is relationships, children, employment, favorite Star Wars movie, hat size. Whatever. One thing we are always shy to ask about is someone’s religious background and preference. I think this is a newer phenomenon, actually. Nevertheless, in the new millennium, crazy answers to all of these questions are offered. Quite often, we get stories about people listing Jedi as the religion of choice on some form or another.
Fr Alexander Schmemann, my
favorite theologian of the modern era, who passed away in 1983, talked
about the end of religion. Not the end as if it is over and can be
ignored, but the end for which it is intended; its goal. Religion
points us toward God, may even join our hands together; but that is
merely the beginning, and the end of the purpose of religion. Then,
something truly great happens. A relationship develops.
at the well, she asked about having to go to Jerusalem to worship. She
thought that you had to be in a certain place to worship. That was one
way that Israel found their connection to God. Fr. Alexander notes
that the Samaritan Woman asked Christ a question about ritual, “and in
reply Jesus changed the whole perspective on the matter…Religion is
needed where there is a wall of separation between God and man. But
Christ who is both God and man has broken down the wall…He has
inaugurated a new life, not a new religion.” There is
something greater to be had now that the connection between God and man
has been made.
But it has to tie us to something greater. The Star Wars
saga sets us on journeys of discovery that far exceed the simple
enjoyment of entertainment. That is why we are here, that is why,
perhaps, you have given some of your precious time to reading about the
story. In some way, and intentionally so, the Galaxy points us toward something greater, something that is inherently yearned for in the depths of the human soul.
Each of us is called to go out on the hero’s journey; not only to
redeem the bad guy, but to find an identity within a greater community.
To call Jedi a religion, as a simple thought experiment, is to begin to
make that connection. To bind ourselves to something greater and
beneficial is the call of human life. Hopefully, it leads to truth, and
not just self-satisfaction and selfishness.
Religion is a means, not an end in itself. True communion with God
is the beginning, means, end and joy for which we were created in the