As a child I had a dream! I wanted to be something and depending on the time of year it varied from one profession and skill set to another. I’m sure we all had childhood dreams of things we wanted to be when we grew up. One dream I had was formed very early on in my life. I wanted to be Han Solo! Due to my age, I came to Star Wars late e.g. I wasn’t born when ‘A New Hope’ was released, so was reliant on watching it whenever it came on either the BBC or ITV, which was usually at Christmas time.
Yet something about the classic tale of goodies and baddies, of the fantasy of space, aliens and walking/talking robots gripped (and still does) my imagination. It fuelled my childhood belief that good would always prevail against evil and instilled in me a redemption narrative that still holds weight and value 40+ years later.
So hopefully this month’s wePRAY will inspire you to re-visit ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…’
Star Wars: A New Hope…
So, which of the iconic moments are we going to hang this wePRAY on? The iconic opening shot of the Imperial Cruiser chasing and dwarfing Princess Leia’s Ambassadorial space craft? The first time we hear the breathy, hissy voice of Darth Vadar? The introduction of Luke Skywalker, the droids or Obi Wan Kenobi (I may have lost some of you already – sorry! Could it even be the debate around who shot first – Han Solo or Greedo? Surely, it’s the iconic moment where Luke’s X-Wing fighter is saved by Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon, destroys the Death Star and flies to safety as the huge Imperial Base explodes into billions of pieces?
Perhaps surprisingly, it’s none of these moments. The ‘goodies’ (not Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Green and Bill Oddie!) know that the Empire is growing and taking over the galaxy. They’ve found a hidden message from Princess Leia and have recruited Han Solo and his hairy co-pilot Chewbacca to fly them to Alderaan, home of Princess Leia, and vocal advocate of the rebellion. Unbeknownst to our heroes, the Empires latest super weapon, the Death Star is orbiting. A weapon so large and powerful, it can destroy entire planets.
Our heroes narrowly escape Imperial fighters and blockades before jumping into hyperspace. Upon dropping out of hyperspace, they find themselves emerging into a meteor belt where Alderaan is meant to be… they are too late! The death star has destroyed the planet and with it, seemingly the hopes of the rebellion. As the Millennium Falcon looks to make its escape, the Death Star catches our heroes in its tracker beam and begins bringing the ship on board…
Star Wars uses a classic cinematic trope to draw audiences in and build both tension and despair in the hearts and minds of the viewers. If the film ended here with our heroes caught in the tracker beam, never to escape the Empire’s clutches we’d all hate the movie and its enduring legacy would be lost in the annals of time, yet another silly Si-Fi movie from the 70s. The brilliant skill George Lucas uses is in creating expectation. The audience are caught saying ‘it can’t end like this surely?’ In the bleakness and despair of ‘a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced’’ there is a collective sense that this all-encompassing darkness can’t be allowed to succeed. There must be something more, because in the eternal battle of good vs evil, good always wins… doesn’t it?
Hope is a unifying and powerful tool. As Christians, our Hope is found in the one who gives His name to our faith, and who’s sacrifice, and resurrection brings hope to all. At east to west, we’re in a privileged position. We’re called to bring hope across our projects… and for some we support, this hope is new and unexpected. It’s a hope which is free, doesn’t judge or condemn and which seeks to identify a brighter future. It values and honours them as people first, and puts their needs at the heart of the collective response, and it’s a hope that starts and ends with Jesus, whether they know and accept it or not.
When the east to west team meets a child, young person, or family for the first time, we find ourselves asking ‘it can’t end like this surely?’ And then work towards ensuring that it doesn’t. At times it can feel like arriving in the rubble of Alderaan and being caught in the Death Star’s tracker beam, but we know we’re got the right group of heroes around us to support, care and pray for us as we continue pushing forwards in ‘bringing hope’
Maybe when I think about it, my childhood dream did come true… maybe I can say I am Han Solo(!) because I get to play a part in ‘bringing (a New) hope to young lives’.
October Prayer Requests
This month we’ve asked Eliz, Head of the Emerge Project to share some prayer pointers about the work at St. Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey.
Thank God for Clare who will be taking on the Emerge Project maternity cover. Please pray for a smooth transition as Clare is inducted and settles in over the next month.
Thank God for the amazing Emerge volunteers who so willing give their time and energy to supporting young people. The team continues to grow, and we are so thankful for this as it allows us to expand our provision. Do pray that more are added as we seek to expand our provision to 6 evenings a week.
Pray for the young people we are working with in the community and wisdom for our team as they support them.
Pray that our team will be ‘bringers of hope’ in the hospital, to those families and young people in crisis but also to the hospital staff as they move into what could be a very busy winter.
Thank God for the continued strength of our relationship with the hospital. Pray that this continues, and we are a blessing to them.
Pray for Simon and Eliz as they embark on the journey into parenthood. Pray that the birth would go well and that the baby would be delivery safely and in good health.