February 15, 2018

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:7 NIV)

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Luke sent me a Valentine’s greeting picture with the picture of the hat of Darth Vader in it. There was a heart at the centre of the hat. The words underneath it were “THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH YOU”.

It is no secret that Luke and I are fans of the Star Wars franchise. I will not tell you how many times we saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi during the holidays. I might be accused of giving those who own the franchise too much money.

Yet, the force of the Star Wars franchise makes us think of what we make of God’s presence within us. May the Force be with you. The Force is strong with this one. These statements tend to imply the presence of a superior energy behind Luke Skywalker or Rey. It sounds almost like God. However, I feel there is one major difference. The Force of the Star Wars is presented as more of a principle than a person. This principle of energy does help Luke in the first Star Wars film put the missile straight in the hole of Death Star. The Force turns up in many areas of life. Yet Luke or Rey are not involved in a praying relationship with the Force. It is an impression that they carry with them, in their hearts.

Compare the Force with these words. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. The author of Psalm 46 talks about the presence of Yahweh with him even though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the sea (Psalm 46:2). This is a Psalm that is composed right in the middle of a battlefield. This is the Psalm that has these words in it. Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10) This sounds like the Force. Yet, as you read the Psalm you get the feeling that it is more than a Force. The writer of Psalm 46 knows that the God who stands with them is a person, not a principle. The Lord Almighty is with them. The God of Jacob is their fortress. This God who stands with them tells them to be still and know his presence with them even though there is war all around them. This God is their refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). He is a person who relates to them through thick and thin. His presence is what is going to get them through the difficulties of life. He is more than a force in their lives. He is God with an indwelling presence in their hearts. He is God who walks beside them as they go through war.

Pastor Pye