Faith & Fandom
Han Solo: The Love Of A Father
For over 39 years, Han Solo has been the archetype of a rogue smuggler. He's the predecessor to men like Malcolm Reynolds who shoots first, delivers witty comebacks, and kisses the princess. He was the semi-squeaky clean bad boy that seemed to always have some serious financial troubles. When we finally make it to The Force Awakens, we once again find that rogue smuggler. He's a bit older, wiser, and weathered, and to top it off, we also find that he has become a father. I know we have only had one installment of the story and we will get more details in the years to come, but what we do know is that Han and Leia had a son named Ben, and that when he was of age he began training with his Uncle Luke as a Jedi. As he was sent away by Leia, he turned to the Dark Side, which I'm sure is a big story to tell on his own. Ben became a Knight of Ren, and eventually lead the Knights of Ren under his new name Kylo Ren. He turned away from his family, the light, his training and the love of his family. His betrayal caused a lot of damage: the separation of Han and Leia, the isolation of Luke, the escalated rise of the First Order, a serious shift in the force. Kylo is immature, whiny, selfish, destructive, rebellious, hateful, murderous, and super emo. So in a lot of ways Kylo is a perfect representation of God's children.
Check out what Paul describes in Romans 1:
(20) For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (21) For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (25) They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator— who is forever praised. Amen. (28) Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. (29) They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.
They are gossips, (30) slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; (31) they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. (32) Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Spiritually we are Kylo. We are all guilty of these sinful and selfish attitudes, just like what the prophet Isaiah laid out in the prophetic passage of Isaiah 53:6, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
We are Kylo. But Kylo was never abandoned by his family. Han may have been discouraged for a moment, but he never abandoned him. He saw first hand the destruction his son either caused or enabled. He watched as the burning lights raced across the sky ending the lives of not only the republic but an entire system. He watched as Kylo's forces rained down bringing death on Maz Kanata's little chunk of the universe. He saw all that he had become, and yet when he saw Leia he still said, "I saw our son." Even though we have all strayed, sinned, and brought pain and suffering to our God and creator, he still looks at us and desires that we would be with Him.
2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
1 Timothy 2:3-4 "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. "
God doesn’t want to see us perish anymore than Han wants to see Kylo head down this path that leads to death. God continues to reach out to us as He always has. He sent prophets, judges, and leaders for generations. He sent Jesus, and Jesus sent his disciples all for the simple purpose of bringing God's lost children back home to him. The powerfully climactic moment between Han and Ben that takes place on the catwalk of Starkiller Base is a scene that isn't going to leave my mind or spirit for a very long time.
Han: Ben! Kylo: Han Solo. I've been waiting for this day for a long time. Han: Take off that mask. You don't need it. "Take off that mask. You don't need it," literally screams God calling out to us to stop hiding. To stop thinking we are fooling anyone. To stop pretending
that everything is under control. He wants us to stop pretending that you aren't hurting and lonely and that God truly sees who we are and loves us. Kylo: What do you think you'll see if I do? Han: The face of my son. Kylo: Your son is gone. He was weak and foolish like his father, so I destroyed him. Han: That's what Snoke wants you to believe, but it's not true. My son is alive. Kylo: No. The Supreme Leader is wise. Han knew his son was struggling and that the Dark Side had power over him. He knew that Kylo had failed, had hurt people, and had bound himself in this fictional identity with which darkness had labeled him. Han: Snoke is using you for your power. When he gets what he wants, he'll crush you. You know it's true. Kylo: It's too late. Han: No, it's not. Leave here with me. Come home. We miss you. Kylo: I'm being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain. I know what I have to do but I don't know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?
Han: Yes. Anything.
Han was willing to do anything it took to bring his son home. He knew the planet he stood on was under attack and that Storm Troopers had weapons trained on him (and storm troopers can actually hit stuff now). Not to mention, there was also a gigantic weapon about to fire that would destroy Leia and the last of the Resistance, yet he stood calmly and lovingly, reaching out to his son. This is God's attitude towards his children. 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
The very heart and core of God our Father is for His lost children to be united with Him. It's the heart of any loving Father. Han was that kind of father, and then Kylo impaled him with his Lightsaber. It was a moment I saw coming from the moment Han told Chewie "I'll meet you back here." I knew Han was about to die, not because of any spoilers but because I knew Han would do anything to reach out to his son. It was still no less shocking. The lady behind me in my first showing laughed hysterically out of shock for about 2 seconds and then went into full blown loud sobbing.
I felt her pain. Han had done everything to reach out to his son, and was still rejected. God knows this pain. Luke recaps what happened when God sent messengers in Acts 7:52 "Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him." Luke also points out what happened even when God sent the Messiah in Acts 2:22-23 "Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross."
God knew his creation would reject and kill those He sent to bring his people home, no more so than with Jesus, but He still loved them to the point that it was worth the sacrifice. Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Sinners may have killed the prophets and Jesus, but for every soul that returns to God, it's worth it. Han knew this was a possibility. I personally think he knew when he called Ben's name that he was going to die, but he did it anyway. Even when Kylo had impaled him, I don’t believe he had given up on his son. I still think he hoped that one day his son would return home. In Han's last moments he didn’t yell or fight; he could have taken Kylo with him off that bridge. Instead, he caressed his son's face because he loved him and hoped that he would truly return home one day. Just like our Father does with all of us, He loves us. He wants us to come home, and He's willing to sacrifice to make it happen.