The release of the new “Star Wars” trailer has caused a lot of excitement (well I’m excited at least). I’ve been a fan of Star Wars since 1977 when the first instalment came out. I was five and I pestered my parents with the persistence that only a five year old can muster to be taken to see it. But I remember the confusion I felt when that famous opening scene started with the words ‘Episode 4 – A New Hope”. Had I missed the first three instalments? Of course not, it was always the director’s intention to begin in the middle of the story as the later prequels and sequels made clear.
What has this to do with Easter? Well we tend to think of timelines as linear and it was all so predictable up to Sunday. A man had appeared telling people that the world was wrong and needed to be fixed. It was a simple message that God loved the world and so we should love one another. We should use our resources to help each other. We should include those on the margins, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, befriend the stranger and care for the sick. Those in power didn’t like this thought, they liked being on top and having all the resources for themselves. They thought they had it right, so they turned against this man. They arrested Him, they abused Him, and they tortured and killed Him. He was put in a grave and they could look forward to things getting back to normal.
Except God wasn’t going to be beaten by this. God resurrected Jesus from the dead. The resurrection is this time at the end of our history, it is how things are going to be. Yet here it is, turning up in the middle of our timeline, to show us what lies ahead. Easter is the ultimate spoiler; it is the revelation of our future coming into our present time. What we see in the resurrected Jesus is how we will all be one day. Our future involves us being raised by God into a new life where there is no more pain, no more death, no more decay or suffering or want. Just when we thought evil had won the day on Good Friday, God shows us what will happen on Easter Sunday. This is our new hope, that whatever happens now, it is going to be all right in the end. This is what allows us to face today with confidence and hope, because what lies ahead has revealed and is not to be feared. Thanks to Easter, we know how our story will end. So let us never forget this new hope, and live lives that show this world who Jesus is so that others can also share in this hope.
Star Wars (c) Lucasfilms