Star Wars is our great modern mythology. Most people probably know more about Luke Skywalker’s struggles against the Empire than they do about Odysseus’ journey to get home. I know that’s true for me; I was supposed to read The Odyssey my freshman year in high school but it was long with small printing.
Since most people are remotely familiar with the Star Wars mythology, pastors like to use it to illustrate points in their sermons. Star Wars is ripe with material for sermon illustrations; it’s a battle between good and evil, all about falling from grace and redemption. Nothing can derail an effective Star Wars sermon illustration more quickly than delving too deep into the mythology itself and taking unwilling people to the darkest recesses of Nerdtown.
Here are some examples of appropriate and inappropriate Star Wars sermon illustrations.
“We all need a mentor, someone older and wiser who can show us the way. Even Luke Skywalker needed Yoda.”
“We all need a mentor, someone older and wiser who can show us the way. Even Count Dooku, who was actually the Sith Lord, Darth Tyranus, had a mentor in Darth Sidius, who was actually Chancellor Palpatine. It’s funny, though, because Count Dooku was actually older than Palpatine. So…I guess you could have a mentor that’s younger than you…but only if he or she is a higher level Jedi or Sith than you are.”
“Sometimes in life, there are moments that come along and just shock us, like the first time I found out Darth Vader was Luke’s father.”
“Sometimes in life, there are moments that come along and just shock us, like when Greedo shot first. I remember it well: Friday night, January 31, 1997. I was so excited to watch the special edition of A New Hope, to see it on the big screen for the first time. I had heard that Lucas made some changes, like adding a scene with Jabba the Hutt and updating the space battles. But nothing could have prepared me for Greedo shooting first; it was the worst thing ever. By having Greedo shoot first, Han Solo became 34% less cool. So…yeah, sometimes life throws some pretty crazy surprises at you.”
“Redemption is woven throughout the human story. We see it pop up everywhere because it’s God’s story. Even Darth Vader had his shot at redemption.”
“Rowr ahragh awf ahraroww rowh rohngr grgrff rf rf. Wugaga hu uwamma Woohiee wa-ah? Wua ga ma uma ahuma ooma. Yaag ruggwah maw huah huah.” (Attempting to speak in Shyriiwook, the Wookie language)
If any pastor attempts a sermon illustration like any of these unacceptable examples, there’s a good chance he or she is a top-shelf nerd. Also, he or she needs to learn to keep the nerd flag from flying so full.
How do you respond when your pastor uses an illustration that goes over your head?