May the Force be with you….

Updated scene of Anakin Skywalker, Yoda and Ob...

Why was Star Wars so wildly successful? Why did so many people love the movies and some watch them so many times that they memorized the lines? I think one of the reasons is that people were fascinated with the Force, the mysterious power that a person could tap into, enabling the person to do amazing things.

“These are not the driods you are looking for.” Remember that line? Obi-Wan Kenobi used mind control to make the guard believe that the droids with Obi were not the ones they were looking for. That is not just science fiction, some people really are that persuasive. Once when I lived in China I was sitting studying Chinese. My roommate was in the living room talking to his Chinese friend who had brought his friend who worked for the Chinese equivalent of the FBI/CIA. They had invited me to go with them to dinner, but I was much too busy so I declined. Later the spy guy came into my room and chatted for a moment using the little English he could speak. He invited me again but I declined. Then he looked intently at me and said something like “You really must come with us to dinner.” He was so persuasive it was almost like mind control. Suddenly I wanted to go and said I would. I was amazed at myself because I normally didn’t do that.

I enjoy going with master salespeople and watching them persuade people. Some people just seem to have an inner power that makes people want to go along with their ideas. W. Clement Stone was one of these kind of people. He became incredibly rich by selling insurance. He could visit a person who had said no to every sales person who called on him, but would somehow be convinced to say yes to Stone. One of the key characteristics of persuasive people is that they really believe they will make the sale.

During the past year I have been reading inspirational books by people who have achieved great success. All of the books seem to agree on one thing, that if a person wants to be successful, one must believe he can accomplish the desired goals. Once a person really believes that he/she can reach a lofty goal, a certain sort of magic starts to happen. Not only that, he begins to work hard at accomplishing the goal. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger really believed he could win body building championships and come to American to be an actor. He wanted it so badly that if he missed a workout he actually felt sick because he realized he had cheated himself of a day’s chance to get a little closer to the goal. He had faith and a strong desire. He believed in using the inner power of the mind.

So it takes faith—faith that you can reach the goal. Faith is the invisible quality that is needed before anything else will happen. When I was young I was told that talent is mostly just a strong desire to accomplish a goal.

Jesus and others said that if you have faith, you can do anything. Once a lady touched his robe and he felt healing power go out of him. He turned to her and told her that it was her faith that healed her. Matthew 9:22. He said everything is possible for one who believes. Mark 9:23

There really is a force that we can tap into flowing through the universe.


  1. As part of our 2012 Stewardship drive, I was asked to share with you a little bit of why I’m here at St John’s, how God has wkoerd in my life, and how that ties in to our stewardship drive.I was born into the St John’s family. My parents and siblings were already here. I was baptized at the ‘old’ St John’s building on the other side of Holbrook Square, before this building was built.I don’t really think about my faith much. I try to live well, but I hadn’t ever given it much thought until I was asked to write about it a while back. I haven’t had any real ‘epiphany’ moment where I suddenly realized that God was active in my life………he just always was.As a child, I often used my prayer book and bible in my pretend play. My dolls were all baptized, there were doll weddings, doll funerals, and lots of doll church services & Sunday school lessons. Many times, there were prayers that I’d find while playing & I’d stop to pray because it was pertinent to something in my life that day.Growing up as part of St John’s community was always comfortable for me. My family life and our social life revolved around the church – we had Sunday School, Jr & Sr choir, Jr YPF, then Sr YPF, Christmas Fairs & pageants, variety shows, dances, and early morning mid-week Lenten services. All attended by my family and friends. Through these activities we built memories together and created friendships that continue to be important to me even now. We spent many hours each week involved with our St John’s community.When I was about 18, my family left St John’s – I never really understood why, but I went with my parents to attend another church. I became quite comfortable there, though as many young people do, I stopped attending for a few years while I was going to college. I got married, and then, when I started having my children, I felt the need to return to church. My parents were still attending at the other church, so I did, too. It was a supportive environment, and I developed friendships with the people there. My children were growing, and I was grateful for the help I received there when I found myself going through a divorce, in the midst of financial difficulty, and ultimately, when I met John, they were all there to celebrate with us when we decided to marry.But, for me, there was still something missing. My sister had already returned to St John’s. I found myself longing to return, too. I felt called here. I knew I needed to return to my spiritual roots.That was over 16 years ago. I felt like I had come home. I felt needed here. I quickly became involved in Outreach, Choir, and vestry. I found many of the friends I’d known since I was born were still here, and made new friends. My parents returned, too, and our local family was once again worshipping together. As you know, St John’s was also the real spiritual home for my parents. And I can’t begin to tell you how deeply they felt connected to everyone here. I’m happy that they were both able to enjoy their final days worshipping here.But that only tells you why I’m here. I want to also tell you that throughout my life, God has been busy with me. As I look back, I can see that I was not wrong to assume that things were going as they should. That I was right to trust that God had a plan for me, and I just needed to keep on listening to Him, keep on following my heart, and everything would work out. Don’t get me wrong…..there were many times that I tried to ‘do it my way’, in my time! I didn’t always get it right the first time. But when I proceeded prayerfully, and took time to listen for God’s direction, all was well. I didn’t need to know where I was going. I just went.So many times things would seem to be going horribly wrong – but then, looking back, I’d see that it was a learning moment that I needed to carry with me. As many of you know, after 37 yrs of praying daily for the safe return of my son, who I’d surrendered for adoption when I was 16, my prayers were answered. At the perfect time in my life, and at the perfect time in his life, we were reunited. And it was – it IS – absolutely wonderful!! And I am able to see, in retrospect, that God had been preparing me for this moment all those years. Choosing adoption for my son made me the person I had become. My experiences had helped me to become a better mother to my other children. The lessons I learned through my loss prepared me to be an effective foster parent; I understood the pain of the loss the parents felt, helping me to be more compassionate in my dealings with them.Much of what I do relates back to experiences in my life. I know what it is to need help feeding my children – I received help when I needed it, and God blessed me with the ability to help others feed their families through the Food Pantry. I was blessed to receive anonymous help to provide Christmas for my children then I was blessed to help others.I could go on, but I think you see the pattern here………There are still many things in my life that I don’t understand. Maybe I never will. But I trust God to take care of them. So, I’ve been asked to tie this in to Stewardship. To me, stewardship doesn’t simply refer to the amount of money you choose to donate to St John’s. It refers to how we care for the world, the environment, our community, our building, and each other. Certainly, it’s important for our church building to be maintained, so the money we pledge is much needed. But that’s only part of our obligation to care for the blessings God has given us. We also need to pledge our time and our talents. We need to be involved in our church family, in our community and beyond, by offering to help out, by offering moral support, by giving ourselves, not just our money. God has put us where we are for a purpose. So many times I’ve looked around at the wonderful people in our parish, and I see such a diverse community. In my opinion, it’s no accident that we have the likes of David & Michial here to help with fixing things, or that we have Rosalee, Linda & Kim here to share their experience with finances. We have Sandy & the choir to share their love of music, leading us in song each week. And we’re blessed to have Eleri here to not only be our Sunday School director, but also to help us learn how to best care for the environment. Our Church Fair committee, the Vestry, the altar guild & Sunday school teachers,…….all made up of different people with different talents working together to make St John’s what it is. And I’m convinced that we were guided to Rev Diane, as she was guided to us……..because this is where she belongs. We are beginning a journey together with her, learning over time what it is that God has brought us together to accomplish.For me, I hope to approach our stewardship drive this year prayerfully. I hope that I will be able to support St Johns, not only financially, but by being involved. When I see something that needs attention, I pray that I will be able to attend to it. I want to use my God-given talents and blessings to serve our parish and our community. And I pray that I will be able to remain God’s humble servant.

  2. There certainly is a force within the Universe that some of us can tap into. I’ve many times got people’s attention across a crowded room by sending them a strong ‘thought’ (I call it a ‘zap’). I can also similarly become inconspicuous, e.g. out on the street at night in a strange area when I don’t want to be noticed. I also automatically know if people are talking about me – even if I can’t hear them – when I look straight round at them, there are some sudden stops in conversations and guilty looks. People can wake me by staring at me (I hate being stared at). So yes, there are lots of powers we don’t understand and can only control to a certain extent.

    On the other hand, I know people who could never tap into those sources and I can’t reach them at all mentally – they are the switched-off ones – my friend is one. He never gets haunted by ghosts or suchlike or sees anything untoward either as he is just too switched off from such things. I actually feel sorry for him for that…

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