Faith Reels: The Force Awakens…and also with you

by Bonnie Anderson and Dan Webster


If you have not yet seen this film, we will not go into specific details about the storyline. However, if you want to be completely surprised by the content of the film, please read this after you have seen the film. There is a place at the end of this commentary for readers to add their own comments. Please do.

The theatre was packed at the matinee. There were septuagenarians, little kids with grown ups obviously ignoring the PG-13 rating. In addition to the ages of the movie-goers, the audience was diverse in many ways.


There was an excited “buzz” in the theater during the previews. Then, as the familiar Star Wars main theme song composed by John Williams sprang to life, an expectant silence fell over the audience and the iconic opening crawl displayed the words that describe the story and asks the “elephant in the room” question: “Where is Luke Skywalker”? Check out the opening crawl on YouTube:


The film does not fall short on heroism, action, and death-defying space ship maneuvering. In fact, the film brings Star Wars into this decade with an explosion of not-your-boring-typical-leading men and women. At the same time, the film pushes our nostalgia button with glimpses of R2-D2, C-3PO, former Princess Leia and others you will fondly remember. George Lucas has relinquished his role as writer-director of all previous Star Wars films and J.J. Abrams brings new talents to the writing and directing of this film.


It is being said that this film is the biggest box office attraction ever. Seems as though The Force really is all around us as new character Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) says. But wait, with a reported + $1billion in box office receipts world-wide perhaps there will be a new awakening. We think that “The Force” is God. After all, God is everywhere.


It’s been a joke for a long time: You know you’re an Episcopalian if someone says, “The Force be with you” and you automatically respond, “And also with you.” Now, if we can just channel that force–that life force of God the creator of the Universe–to build up the beloved community of God rather than flying through space shooting down enemies, we will be living into the promises we make in our baptismal covenant.


Bonnie Anderson is a very active lay leader in her parish, diocese and in the wider Episcopal Church. She is an experienced community organizer and lives in suburban Detroit. Dan Webster is an Episcopal priest in Baltimore, Maryland and a former broadcast news executive. But don’t expect only east coast urban perspectives here. As it turns out, they both grew up in Southern California.  They blog about films and faith at Faith Reels

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