On the day that it was released, I took my son and his friend to a see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I was as excited as they were. I’ve been a Star Wars fan ever since the first movie, and so I thoroughly enjoyed all the connections that Rogue One had with the original story. I also enjoyed the movie on its own merits, although I do feel that Rogue One has a different flavor than all the other movies in the Star Wars franchise.
I won’t give away any real spoilers, just in case, but I do want to talk about this one intriguing character in the movie called Chirrut Imwe (played by Donnie Yen). Imwe has developed an awareness of the mystical Force that supposedly holds everything together in the Star Wars universe. Of course, as any fan knows, the Jedi Knights and the Sith Lords are the main groups who know, develop, and train themselves in the use of the Force: the Jedi, in order to do good; and the Sith, in order to do evil.
However, Imwe, who is neither a Jedi nor a Sith, has somehow nurtured his awareness of the Force and figured out how to use the Force to his advantage. At certain times in the movie, he chants rapidly (in a most un-Jedi like fashion), muttering, “I am one with the Force, the Force is with me, I am one with the Force, the Force is with me.” And Imwe ends up doing some fantastic things that have no explanation except that he indeed has a connection to the Force.
I think we admire characters with unwavering devotion to a higher ideal, goal, or purpose. And Imwe’s chant to the fictional Force made me think about how all of us have an impulse to be connected to something or someone larger than ourselves. But what struck me most about Imwe is that in the end, Imwe’s union with the Force is completely impersonal. He can be one with the Force, and use it to help his friends (and help the greater cause), but Imwe can’t have a conversation with the Force or have any real relationship with it. Imwe’s relational fulfillment must always come from outside the Force.
Jesus offers something very different to his followers — a union with God’s One and Only Son. This union is powerful but is also deeply relational, fulfilling one’s life completely without having to rely on anything or anyone else. This union wouldn’t have been possible without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins. But Jesus’ death and resurrection made it possible for those who believe in Jesus to be actually joined with the Spirit of God. They will never be alone, and will always be known by God and loved by God.
“If you love me, you will keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.” –Jesus (John 14:15-21 CSB)
This union with God is admittedly mysterious, and I don’t think anyone (even believers in Jesus) can claim to know exactly how it works or how God accomplishes it. But we can see evidences that this union is real, especially when we see a Christian go through suffering with an undeniable grace and trust in God. When their life appears to be falling apart, they stand fast to the hope they have in Jesus. Such occurrences are an evidence that they are indeed one with Jesus, and that he is giving them strength and peace in their time of trial.