!!!MILD SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST THREE EPISODES OF THE ANDOR SERIES AHEAD!!!
As a life-long Star Wars fan, the last several years have been pretty good to me… while the cinematic offerings have been a bit of a mixed bag, the live-action television shows we have been receiving have been hotter than Mustafar in the summer. And sandwiched between the excellent Obi-Wan Kenobi series and the ongoing adventures of Mando and Ahsoka is a new series designed to provide exposition on the early days of the rebellion featuring Cassian Andor, one of the lead characters from Rogue One. With the first three episodes all dropping on the same day to introduce us to this new series, I went into this show with some VERY high expectations… I figured we would start out with Cassian boldly infiltrating an Imperial Starcruiser, maybe a few scenes with Saw Gerrera to provide some fan-service up front, a cameo from K-2SO, or if we are REALLY lucky a glimpse of a Hera Syndulla or Kanan Jarrus. I mean, in this early timeline there are SO many possibilities… and with three full episodes to watch, some dangerous espionage and exciting Imperial entanglements had to be in the mix, right? Ummm… no. Actually, none of that at all.
Instead, what we received was a deep and intimate look into the life of the lead character, providing unexpected exposition on his childhood and the relatively mundane activities of his day-to-day routine. Sure, there is a little action… but after watching Boba Fett ride a Rancor and Mando pick up the Darksaber in their respective series, the stakes on Andor are relatively small in comparison so far. As the credits rolled on the third episode, I still had SO many unanswered questions, and the series to this point has not answered ANY of them. As a matter of fact, they spent a great deal of time answering questions that I am not sure anyone was asking as we headed into this series. I went into this series expecting to see the beginning of the Rebel Alliance, and instead I received a front-row seat to a few challenging days in the life of Cassian Andor. But as I considered the first three episodes of this series and the difference between what I had expected and what I actually received, an uncomfortable truth about more than simply my unrealistic expectations about Andor came to the surface. I was approaching the Andor series in a very similar way that I have found myself praying, reading the Bible, and treating my relationship with the Lord. And I have a feeling many of us have grappled with this exact same struggle.
Throughout my life I have been told by well-meaning people that the answer to every question I have in life can be found in the Bible. And while that sounds fantastic, in practice this hasn’t quite happened the way I had hoped. When I have faced challenging crossroads in my life such as what career choice I should make, where I should move to, who I should marry, or in what manner I could serve the Lord the best, I scoured the scriptures for answers… answers that were not provided in the black-and-white manner I would have preferred. I never found a verse that said, “Thou shalt spend thine first three years of employment in service to McDonald’s”. I would pray and seek direct answers to my very specific problems, but the simple, binary responses I was looking for eluded me. And for years, I found myself treating the Lord the same way I was viewing this new Andor series… I wanted all the fun benefits of a deep experience without investing the time to truly get to know the lead character of the narrative.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.
I have foolishly tried to use the Bible as the equivalent of a video game “strategy guide” in life… flip to the right page, find the solution to the puzzle I am currently working on, say a quick prayer of thanks, and get back into the action. But the Bible is not simply an answer key to the tests that we face in life… it is an INTRODUCTION to the hero of the story (John 5:39). We were never meant to simply pull out our favorite verses and wield them out of context as a “mantra” that we follow in life… they are an exploration of the very essence of the Almighty God, a deep exposition into His Divine nature, and a pathway into an intimate relationship with Him. He didn’t give us the Bible so we could merely find answers to our questions… He protected these sacred texts and ensured their survival over thousands of years so we would have a way to get to know Him. And if we want answers to those day-to-day questions that we face as well as the solutions to the larger, life-altering predicaments we encounter, the reality is that we were never intended to see prayer and Bible study as a means to an end. They are the means of getting to know and understand the very heart of our Creator… and as we seek a relationship with Him, we will find that the moment-by-moment guidance we are looking for will start to become crystal clear.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Selfishly, I wanted the new Andor series to provide “shock and awe” moments that filled in the gaps of time that exists prior to Rogue One… instead, I discovered a complicated backstory that will help me better understand the motivations behind one of the core participants. I wanted to enjoy “the Rebellion” without understanding “the Rebel”… I was trying to enjoy the depth of the experience with a shallow, surface-level commitment. Andor is NOTHING like I was expecting it to be… instead of a wide-angle lens exploring a universe at war, it has brought the camera WAY down to the grimy streets where the seeds of the Rebelion were first planted. And instead of being a distant spectator to the looming conflict that would encompass star systems, I am seeing the drama unfold at the ground-level and getting to know the actual participants who took down an empire. It is going to move a lot slower than I expected, and that is okay. Because when the conflict inevitably goes to those bigger places that it is destined to, those decisions and their ramifications will truly feel EARNED. And similarly, in our walk with the Lord we can’t expect to simply graze off of His “greatest hits” and forge a meaningful relationship with Him. Our time spent in prayer and reading His Word is meant to be an EXPLORATION of Him… a never-ending, ever-deepening character study of the unknowable Almighty God.
Acts 17:26-27 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
Should we pray to Him for guidance on our dilemmas, large and small? Of course we should… He told us to (Philippians 4:6). Do we find the answers to many of our most pressing questions within His written Word? Absolutely… our daily direction and guidance can often be found in the wisdom of what He has recorded (Psalm 119:105). But reducing our relationship with Christ to nothing more than a genie’s lamp to be rubbed when we want our wishes granted misses the entire point of all of this… He did everything He has ever done with the intent to provide us with a way to seek Him, find Him, and truly get to know Him (Acts 17:27). As I am finding in the slow burn in the Andor series, we don’t really gain much understanding about our heroes during their daring feats of heroism surrounded by spectacular explosions… these are all fun and exciting, but when the smoke clears, we still didn’t really get to KNOW them. I will learn more about the early days of the Rebel Alliance by seeing it through the eyes of Cassian Andor than I would have ever gleaned from a bunch of exciting set pieces that provided style without substance. And to see the story the way that he saw it, I must live it through his lens… understanding him as a character, not just a means of providing exposition and answers to my questions. As Elijah found in His mountaintop experience, the voice of the Lord coming to provide direction wasn’t found in the excitement of the howling wind or the explosive earthquake that was happening around him. He was found in the still, small voice of a loving, caring Creator calling out to His child to show us that the answers we are looking for can only be found in the quiet place of truly getting to know Him (1 Kings 19:11-13).
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