Sunday, October 15, 2023

Heb. 1:1-4 and the Star Wars "Crawl"

You know me. The ultimate nerd. I once did a study of all the participles in the book of Hebrews. As you can see, there are a ton of them. 

Notice that the very first one is found in the opening verse of the letter. 

Here the author is contrasting two different "speakings" of God. 

I might render this as :

"God, having spoken, spoke."

We see here that the author begins his letter by calling our attention to something that happened long, long ago. Then he contrasts that with something that happened much more recently. He's talking, of course, about the Old Testament revelation of God on the one hand, and the New Testament revelation of God on the other. This call for the readers to reflect on "long ago" reminds me of a line from the Star Wars series of movies. 

As you will recall, each film in the Star Wars series begins with a static blue text that reads: "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." This is followed by a brief explanation of the most important events leading up to the start of the film. As the text is "crawling" on the screen, John William's classic score creates an unforgettable start to the film. In a 2005 interview, director George Lucas said, "The crawl is such a hard thing because you have to be careful that you're not using too many words that people don't understand. It's like a poem." 

The opening of Hebrews, I think, would have had a very similar effect on its audience (minus the musical score of course). See if you don't agree. Below is my rendering of Heb. 1:1-4. Oddly enough, it contains 136 words, while George Lucas's crawl in the first Star Wars movie has 135:

A long time ago, God spoke in many different ways to our forefathers through the prophets, telling them little by little about his plans. But now, in these last days, he has spoken directly to us through a SON to whom he has given everything and through whom he made the world and everything there is. God's Son shines forth with God's very own glory, and all that God is, the Son is. He regulates the universe by his powerful word. When he died to cleanse us from all sin, he sat down in the place of highest honor beside the great God of heaven. Thus he became far greater than the angels, as proved by the fact that his name "Son of God" is far greater than the names and titles of the angels.

It's a beautiful introduction to a great epistle, don't you think? It's where we are reminded that the Empire is now ruled by the very Son of God, whose glory supersedes that of all those who came before him. Do you need a reminder of his greatness today? The entire magnificent book of Hebrews awaits your reading.