Star Wars hit the silver screen over 45 years ago, the now-famous phrase “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” introducing a futuristic world beyond imagination. If only Tatooine had remained the strangest world we know.
As strange as the lands of Alderaan and Yavin IV appeared to filmgoers, it seems they can barely hold a candle to the things we began seeing not that long ago and a little closer to home. There are multiple large cities where the police will not respond to non-life threatening 911 calls. Some have “Just Said No,” while other departments have announced they’re going to send social workers to see how they can help resolve conflicts. Other places have decriminalized stealing less than $1000 worth of goods from a store AND stepped up prosecution of store owners who try to protect their stuff. A family court judge has issued two mind-boggling court orders in a case – the first PROHIBITING the father from bringing his son to get a haircut and the second PERMITTING the mother to arrange for the removal of the son’s genitals. The boy is 10 years old!
When darkness is advancing, the answer is always MORE LIGHT.
We need Jesus Christ – the Light of the World – to overcome the darkness. It’s far too easy to look at the darkness “out there” and overlook the darkness within ourselves; but dealing with the darkness within is key. The answer is not to create some sort of global military force that can stop “all the bad people” from doing terrible things. The answer is found in a changed heart that wants things that are good and helpful on the one hand and has the restraint not to act on its worst temptations and inclinations on the the other. We need Jesus to change our hearts — and therefore our desires. We need His Holy Spirit within us to empower His good and hold back our hard-hearted evil. The enemy we face is intent on destroying the people and the world that God created to show forth His glory. It is the people of God who are called to stand in the gap and overcome evil with good.
I’m not pointing fingers here. I was utterly evil and controlled by the “dark side” before I met Christ; and I’m not saying that merely for dramatic effect. When I quote St. Francis and say, “I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone,” it’s not a joke. And I’m certainly not saying I’ve got it all together now. I still battle to control anger. I’m better at it now than I was ten years ago (thank God!!!), but I am under no misconception about my desperate need for the continued intervention of God every day to keep the Wookiee within from erupting and wreaking havoc and destruction. I still get tempted to look at scantily clad women lustfully and words that shouldn’t pass my lips still pop up in my mind. But don’t act too shocked – because temptation and temper are universal problems and you have them, too. It’s a battle we all face, and one that nobody wins “Solo” – not even Han Solo.
Today’s verse says I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST, AND IT IS NO LONGER I THAT LIVE, BUT CHRIST LIVING IN ME
You see, those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. We know that He died for all, and that those who now live in Him should no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.
Paul knew the power of a crucified life. He used to be the man who traveled everywhere arresting followers of Jesus and approving of their murder. Now he was the man who traveled everywhere to tell people that following Jesus was the only answer. Paul knew.
He had seen countless lives changed, he wrote to the church at Corinth to reminded them of two things. First, Paul cautioned them against being deceived, because neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. There’s a lot of darkness there!! But second Paul reminded them of the power of the light within them. He actually said, “Such were some of you!” Yeah, they used to be despicable and sold out to the Dark Side. But they had been washed, they had been sanctified, they had been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. In other words, they had BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. So they, too, could say, IT IS NO LONGER I THAT LIVE, BUT CHRIST LIVING IN ME.
Paul could say it. The Corinthians could say it. Lots of people alive today and living near you can say it. Even I can say it. The big question before us today is this – CAN YOU SAY IT?
Don’t wait for a holographic message from R2-D2 with a plan to overcome the Death Star. Take the message FROM ME-2U with a plan to overcome death and find real life in Jesus.