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Contemporary Comments 2016
The Controversy Continues
1 Samuel 17:43-51; 2 Samuel 11:1-17; 1 Kings 18:21-39; 2 Kings 19:21-34; Esther 3:8-11; Nehemiah 1
January 30, 2016
It’s the movie franchise that never dies. The Star Wars money machines march on like Storm Troopers invading a rebel outpost on some desolate planet in a galaxy far, far away. The venture is built on the concept of the never-ending storyline. Consider the back-and-forth titles: “Revenge of the Sith” assumes that the Sith were greatly inconvenienced in the previous movie. “A New Hope” indicates that those who initially irritated the Sith are getting revenge on the Sith’s revenge. “The Empire Strikes Back” tells us that the Empire is getting revenge on those who got revenge on the Sith’s revenge. “The Return of the Jedi” well, you get the idea.
And now it appears that the evil empire has invaded the church. At least it did when around 500 people showed up for a recent Star Wars-themed Sunday service at Berlin’s Zion Church. Most attendees dressed in Darth Vader masks and Chewbacca costumes, packing light sabers and other props. "We were very happy to see so many people in the church today," said pastor Lucas Ludewig after the service. "It's great that there are subjects that people are interested in. They trust us to make them part of the church service without making it too Christian or too Star Wars, but to find a good compromise." Jonathan Wonneberger, dressed as a Jawa trader, called the service a welcome change from tradition. "You don't have to take everything that's religious too seriously. Of course you have to treat it with respect, but when there's a global event like Star Wars, it's ok to jump on the bandwagon.” 
Maybe it’s not such a stretch to incorporate the continuing Star Wars yarn into a church service after all. As the title of this week’s lesson indicates, “The Controversy Continues” for us as well. We see the same back-and-forth conflict illustrated in the storyline of Israel: Egypt enslaved them; God rescued them from Egypt; they fell captive to Babylon; God rescued them again through Esther and raised up Nehemiah to bring them home.
It also happens on a personal level: David defeated the evil Goliath; David fell to evil in the Bathsheba/Uriah episode; David repented and received a new, clean heart. The whole ongoing saga of the Great Controversy is a steady stream of victories and blunders by God’s people against the forces of darkness.
Someday the Star Wars saga will come to a final, merciful, satisfying conclusion as the good guys eventually win (or Disney quits raking in dough by the dump truck load). The good news is that we know that the Great Controversy saga will come to its climax someday. Jesus has already won the war between the forces of good and evil.