The Greatest Lesson in the Last Jedi (Magnificent Monday)

I saw The Last Jedi this weekend, and while it is tempting to flesh out a full review here, that's not my  goal in this post.  I'll just simply say that it was fun, highly entertaining, and worthy of a place among the other Star Wars movies.  Right now, I'd rank it around number 3 or 4 on my list of top Star Wars movies.  However, I'll have to re-watch it a few times before I solidify it's spot.

If you haven't seen it, I'll try not to be too spoilerish, but you might want to look away just in case.  My encouragement is to go into this film with your theories and expectations checked at the door, because your debates, youtube video watching, and fanboy desires aren't going to be satisfied.  Rian Johnson defies the expectations and norms.  Personally, I love that.  It was the most unpredictable Star Wars film to date. 

Besides surprises, it was littered with delightful humor and dabbled more into introspection, human feeling, and philosophical thought than the other films in the franchise.

On this beautiful Monday, a week before Christmas, I'd like to focus on one of the great teaching points found in The Last Jedi.  Okay, last spoiler warning.......I'm not going to ruin the big surprises, but will share a couple of things about the film now.  Don't want to ruin it if you haven't seen it yet.

One of the themes of The Last Jedi was the idea of heroes confronting failure.  The failures were many and took place in different shapes and forms.  However, I loved the way that the good guys (& gals) were more human in this movie.  They failed, but not only that, they recognized their failure.  And, leave it to a Star Wars legend to say one of the most profound things in the movie regarding failure.  Jedi Master Yoda visits Luke Skywalker as a force ghost.  After Luke spills his heart---his spirit crushed by some bad choices and failure, Yoda tells him in true Yoda fashion, "The greatest teacher, failure is."

The whole point is that we can wallow in self-pity, feeling doomed by our failure and past choices, or we can learn from it and fail forward (stealing that from the John Maxwell book).

In most movies, we don't see the heroes fail so spectacularly.  They might get defeated from time to time, but usually they make up for it quickly.  In Episode VIII, we get a heavy dose of failure.  Poe Dameron makes some bad choices that leads to the death of many Resistance fighters.  Rey mistakenly thinks she can turn Kylo Ren to the light.  Luke has an entire laundry list of claimed failures, including being a major catalyst in turning Kylo Ren into the monstrous villain that he is.  The list could go on and on, but you get the point.  Failure is a reality.

In our life, failure is a reality.  Thankfully, we have a choice.  We can let failure defeat us and cower away, or we can face it head on, own it, and let it mold our wisdom into something of great value.

Scripture teaches us all about failure, second chances, and overcoming the past.  Heck, even the villain, Kylo Ren, said, "Let the past die. Kill it."

In a way, we should let the past die.  Through Christ, the slate is wiped clean.  We don't need to cling onto the past mistakes, only let it teach us and shape us into something better.   Proverbs 24:16 says, "The righteous may fall seven times but still get up, but the wicked will stumble into trouble."

I am thankful for a God that gives us the strength to "get up"!  It is Jesus that gives us the hope and great joy in the midst of the inevitable failure of our sinful nature.  Without Him, we couldn't overcome our past and failure.  That's encouragement to be hopeful in God always, and to not take His wisdom or strength for granted.

I encourage you to go see The Last Jedi, but more forward, don't let the past define you.  God can rewrite any story!