Star Wars Advent Antiphons – Root of Jesse (December 19)

December 19, 2015

Which offspring of royalty is an ensign for the people of the Galaxy Far, Far Away?

Princess Leia in Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope

O Root of Jesse, who stands as an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall keep silence and to whom the Gentiles shall make their supplication: Come, and deliver us and tarry not.

To call Jesus “an ensign” is to call him a standard—a royal flag, a banner around which everyone rallies.

The “ensign of the people” in Star Wars (1977) is Princess Leia.

Princess Leia

The insightful and entertaining Emily Asher-Perrin recently made an observation that hit me like a stormtrooper’s blaster set to stun:

A New Hope is ultimately Leia’s story… [She is] the Player of Greatest Importance to the Rebellion.

How had I not appreciated this truth? It permeates the film’s first reel alone.

  • The opening crawl establishes Leia’s importance in its big yellow letters: “custodian of the plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy.”
  • Moments later, C3PO sums up the captured Rebel ship’s plight: “There’ll be no escape for the princess this time”—as though no one else aboard matters, because, in a real sense, no one else aboard does. If Leia dies, so does the Rebellion.
  • And an Imperial officer—anonymous onscreen, christened Daine Jir in the Expanded Universe—cautions Darth Vader, “Holding her is dangerous. If word of this gets out, it could generate sympathy for the Rebellion in the Senate.” (Daine Jir, “danger”… Really, EU, that’s the best you had?)

Princess Leia legitimizes the Rebellion’s fight. She is the face of freedom, the ensign of a future filled with hope.

Princess Leia 1977 Publicity Shot

In Advent, we rally around our ensign, Jesus Christ, who promises a future in which we will be free indeed (John 8.36), free from the tyranny of sin, evil, and death itself.

How are you showing the world you rally around Jesus this Advent season?

Antiphon text from The United Methodist Hymnal (1989). Read this introduction to Advent antiphons from last year’s “Advent Antiphons in a Sci-Fi Key” series, and read last year’s sci-fi take on today’s antiphon.

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