'Star Wars' Trailers, Music Set for Pre-Christmas Service at Berlin Church

Zion Church in Berlin

In a move that both film fans and devout Christians might consider sacrilege, a German church is putting the themes — and John Williams' legendary score — at the center of its pre-Christmas service.

The parishioners at Berlin's Zion Church will be greeted this Sunday with the Star Wars theme music and can look forward to a sermon about the “juxtaposition of good and bad, light and dark,” as exemplified by the blockbuster franchise (as well as, of course, the New Testament). 

Vicars Ulrike Garve and Lucas Ludewig plan to also screen excerpts from Star Wars trailers on a screen below the pulpit during the service.

The unusual advent service, held on the last Sunday before Christmas, has generated huge interest in the German media, and the pastors have admitted to using the film franchise to try and get "curious visitors ... as well die-hard Star Wars fans" to come to church as J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens opened across the country on Thursday.

But they insist there is a logical connection between the sci-fi mythology of George Lucas' film franchise and the traditional Christian teachings. They point to Luke Skywalker's choice to avow peace and decry violence, putting down his lightsaber and refusing to kill Darth Vader in The Return of the Jedi, for example, comparing it to Jesus' message to turn the other cheek.

They also quote from Romans 12:21 in the Bible, which states: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." The passage will play a central role in Sunday's Star Wars-themed service. 

Despite its historical status — the Zion Church was where famous anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer worked as a pastor from 1931 to 1932 — the landmark Protestant church located in the center of Berlin has long been open to new technology as a way to reach its flock. Its website offers parishioners a 3D digital tour of the historic building, and visitors can also download the distinctive sound of the Zion church bells as a ringtone for their mobile phones.

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