Cassian Andor was just walking to get some breakfast. As a group of rebels or youthful vandals ran past him to get away form the troops, they zeroed in on him. Cassian got arrested for nothing. Oh, he had done something before this…but these troops had no clue about that. No clue that he had stolen credits from an Empire facility. After that he ran here to get away from this rebellion. Yet just for standing around when some kids ran past him, he got arrested. Then, he was sentenced to many years in jail for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A jail in the middle of an ocean that is also a work camp. They are building huge parts for something. Perhaps a…moon station?
Security is extreme, to say the least. The floors are equipped with electrical conduits so the guards can hit a button and fry all the prisoners in one room or even the whole base. While at the bunks the electricity is left flowing all night so if you leave your little cubby for any reason you are fried. In terms of work ethic, if your team is the slowest or least productive you get a nice jolt of electricity. Add to that tasers and blasters and the guards have an easy control system.
As Andor arrives at the jail, we find ourselves excited that Andy Serkis has joined the cast. He is playing a prisoner/supervisor named Kino Loy. Loy has just days left before being released from this work prison. He is convinced that if you just go through the system, work hard then you will be let out. Don’t take a risk with the guards. Just focus on the program. 12 hours working, 12 hours resting. 12 hours working, 12 hours resting. On and on and on.
Cassian can’t agree to just work and give up. He starts looking for a strategy to get out. Starts talking to other prisoners. Episode 9 is accurately titled “No One is Listening”. Almost none of the other prisoners are okay with trying to get out because the system is just to pervasive. Why risk getting electrocuted or shot? Escape isn’t possible.
Then, the rumor mill, powered by sign language as they are in tube corridors under the sea waiting between work and rest, begins to get scared. Rumors are afloat that no one gets out. An entire crew of men has been wiped out. Killed. Kino won’t believe it. These are just rumors. Don’t get freaked out or the guards will hit the button and shock us all.
As they all get nervous while waiting to move on, an older prisoner simply can’t do it anymore. He is exhausted and has been pushed beyond his limit. As he falls, Loy calls in a medic and both he and Cassian wait. When the doctor comes, Cassian pushes Kino to ask about what is going on. The medic is honest: a whole crew of men was just killed. Both night and day shifts. 100 men killed because the Empire messed up. A guy who was “released” from one section magically appeared in another section the very next day. Prisoners started to notice and they were all killed to try and hide the secret. Then he tells them: your man can’t be helped. He died from a stroke.
Now it hits Kino Loy. He had believed that he would be released. He had trusted the system; but this system can not be trusted. This system will doom them all.
Sometimes we think we will “get out” someday. We are stuck in the prison of our own sin and we seem all to comfortable to do our time. We are used to it. Why try to get out? Surely we will be released after we have “had enough”. But how much is enough? What is the “reward” of our sin?
Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death…” Our own prison of sin certainly is a trap unto it’s own. Our own appetites draw us out of the safety of Jesus into the “wrong place and wrong time”. We know we shouldn’t be there. But we follow the hunger just as Andor left the rebellion for his own appetites. Then we get stuck in a pattern of sin. Sin then wait. Sin then wait. Habitual sin traps us and we refuse to face it. Just like Kino Loy. We don’t want to face our own failings and our own prison. Just deal with it, we tell ourselves. Maybe we don’t believe we can get out. Perhaps we don’t want to.
In the Bible there are a few men who have to come to a realization of their own sin and their own failings. If you look 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles, we find many men and some women who were sinful. Jezebel lived a life of sin and pulled others into that sin. She killed prophets of God and encouraged debauchery. She never repented. King David sinned with another mans’ woman and had the man killed to cover it up. Yet after the prophet Nathan confronted him, he responded in repentance and humility. He wrote the 51 Psalm as a confession of his depravity. Which one of these is referred to as a “…man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22)?
In Romans 7 Paul starts to finish a major point of that epistle, that all humans are depraved and in need of help. We all need…a way out.
Back to Andor and Kino. The reality of what is actually happening forces its way into Kino Loys mind. He goes through a crisis of sorts as he starts to realize how trapped he is. It takes him all night to work through the conclusion that he, and all the prisoners, need a way out. We all have moments that give us a faith crisis of some sort. This includes the realization that we are sinners, it includes realizations about individual sins, and it can also include the struggle with aspects of the Gospel reality that might not be our own sin but are still uncomfortable.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”Philippians 2:12-13
While salvation is free, we do have a responsibility for our own repentance. Repentance is an active choice to turn and move in the other direction. It is rarely easy and far more often it is a difficult process, not just a single moment. Just as Kino had to come to a realization of his own need, and take time to process that information, we often need to come to our own realizations of sin and sometimes we need time to process it. But part of that processing needs to be the beginning step of repentance: confession.
The act of confession isn’t especially hard, but the will for confession, especially if not fostered regularly, can be the hardest thing to muster. We must rely on God’s will to fill in where our will is limited. This includes both confession to Christ in personal prayer and confession, when/where appropriate, to another human. Not to a random human, but to someone you trust who is a Christ follower. Someone who has cares enough to show both mercy and hold you to the truth…that only in Christ are we free of our sin.
And here we come to the ONE WAY OUT moment. Kino and Andor lead the prisoners on a rampage through the complex, loudly shouting ONE WAY OUT over and over again. For Kino this involves a genuine moment of facing his own inadequacy: he can’t swim. The prison is in the middle of an ocean and he must jump and take the chance or stay and die there in the prison. He chooses to jump but we don’t know what happens to him after that. In fact. while hundreds of them jump, we only know of 2 that make it to land. 1 of them is Andor.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9
The “he” in that quote is Jesus. If we confess our sins He will purify us and change us. He longs to move us forward through a consistent relationship. A relationship of prayer and scripture engagement. This includes meditating on scripture which is an act of reflection on scripture that includes prayer and saturating yourself with the Word of God. This happens by reading it regularly, memorizing verses, praying verses over yourself, and simply talking with God in prayer about what you are learning and, again, confessing our own sin to Him.
Jesus is our way out of sin. ONE WAY OUT. ONE WAY OUT. ONE WAY OUT.