It still gives me a thrill to hear the John Williams score with the flat dessert scene of Tatooine, the wistful look on the face of the young Luke Skywalker as he contemplates the possibilities of a much larger existence beyond the simplicity of his known life.
This scene which was shot on this day in 1976 holds so much possibility and sits with so many other Kairos (καιρός) moments including the famous red pill blue/pill choice in the Matrix in 1999. Do we remain within the safe bubble of our known existence or risk stepping out into the unsettling undiscovered country?
This moment where we find ourselves on the precipice of new experience and opportunity trying to decide if we go or stay is a common theme in so much of science fiction and fantasy writing. The feeling produced within us as we immerse ourselves in such scenes pulls at my heart like the current of the tide, threatening to overwhelm me with its hope and fear.
It is an indescribable moment where mere words seem to fail to express with clarity the experience of being there. Such moments are often described in metaphor and parable or left wordless with the incredible score music to express the magic of the moment.
I think Kermit the frog puts it best in song as he encounters his own moment:
Have you been fast asleep
And have you heard voices,
I’ve heard them calling my name,
Is this the sweet sound that calls
The young sailors,
The voice might be one and the same.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be…
These produced moments created for us as entertainment carry in them the opportunity for us to practice working through the feelings of the Kairos moment, A moment where time seems to stop for us because the true feelings of new information, crisis, opportunity or love. These scenes in movies, books or series provide us with the chance to explore these overwhelming feelings that might otherwise trigger a fight or flight response for us, causing us to miss the chance to explore those feeling without consequence.
This is the essential value in these stories, yes they are entertaining and we may like or dislike them, but the real opportunity for us is to explore and play with our identity alongside these moments gaining the skills needed to calmly understand our next choices.
Through these moments we can be made ready to work through these most complex emotions of faith hope and love.
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here.
Rev. Will Nicholas is Minister of the Word at St David’s Uniting Church in Newtown, Victoria