Star Wars Day: Finding Faith in the Fourth

(Crux) Star Wars Day is upon us, May 4th, the day aficionados of the movies, games, toys and unending merchandising surrounding the films, have also come to celebrate as “May the Fourth be With You Day.”

Being old enough to remember the original 1977 movie, Star Wars, when we didn’t have to refer to it as “Episode IV: A New Hope,” I also recall when my own grandmother thought it blasphemy for a young college man from her Pennsylvania church (not me) to speak to the religious messages of the series in an adult Sunday school class.

To say she wasn’t pleased at the notion is to be careful with my words.

But we’ve come to learn that George Lucas and his writers, in creating one of the most successful film franchises in history, did put a great deal of thought into the good vs. evil themes that inhabit the movies.

Star Wars Day has been celebrated almost since the first film’s debut.

The site StarWars.com notes that its first apparent print reference was in the London Evening News, in a congratulatory ad to Prime Minister-Elect Margaret Thatcher on her victory on May 4, 1979. The message said, “May the Fourth be with you, Maggie. Congratulations!”

In more contemporary popular culture, the commemoration has become a running gag on the CBS megahit, The Big Bang Theory.

The theme of religious messages in Star Wars has also demonstrated some serious crossover chops. The casual searcher can find an article on Crosswalk.com, a popular Christian evangelical site, on “5 Christian Messages in Star Wars.” [More]

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