Everything We Need
We Have Everything We Need
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
One of the most remarkable scenes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes at the movie’s end, when the few surviving Resistance fighters board their ship and escape the devastation brought down on them by the evil First Order. In the cabin of the ship the trilogy’s protagonist, Rey, sits crestfallen alongside Leia, one of the most beloved and courageous characters in the Star Wars universe. Holding the broken pieces of her weapon, Rey looks around and sees the once determined Resistance fighters, relieved, yet utterly devastated by their losses. Her eyes then turn to Leia, hoping the older and wiser leader could offer some reassurance. Rey asks, “How do we build a rebellion out of this?” Calmly and deliberately, Leia takes Rey’s hands, and with a defiant grin assures her, “We have everything we need.”
It takes both resilience and trust to decide that what we have been given, or what we have available to us is enough. Leia’s belief in The Last Jedi stems from her experiences of loss and victory, of pain and hope throughout her character’s story arc. Her story, however uniquely sci-fi it is, contains within it very human elements like loss and hope that we can connect with as imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Unsurprisingly, the reality of imperfection has a way of constricting our vision into one of scarcity — a view that convinces us that what we have is not enough, and moreover, that there isn’t enough to go around. To function in scarcity needlessly pits us against each other, with everyone struggling to insure for themselves what they need, even if it comes at the expense of those around us. It also causes despair over the future and how life can thrive under such circumstances. That to say, scarcity kills — it kills compassion, imagination, grace, and the ability to trust that God will provide.
Not unlike that final moment in The Last Jedi, Paul defiantly insists that what God has given in the way of personality, strengths, gifts, relationships, and experiences is all the raw material that God needs to do redemptive things among and beyond our gathering. He insists this because, as we begin to suspect in this passage, the poison of scarcity had begun to unravel the unity of the church in Corinth.
Paul’s mission in Corinth had everything to do with helping them to see that Christ was already present in the messiness of the city and in the lives of those he encountered. He preached the necessity of gratitude in recognizing how God was making use of everyone’s gifts as they were drawn to Jesus, and treating those hard relationships with patience and love. In a city where all but the few at the top were struggling to survive, a city where appearances were everything, to be invited into a community that says, “No you are enough, and you matter not just to us but also and more so to God,” was virtually unheard of.
But Paul invites them to remember the electric energy and faithfulness of Jesus that brought them together in the first place, an energy of connection, love, and mutual encouragement, a connection marked with kindness that lifts the other up and that engages mercifully with those who are hurting or pushed aside. Many voices today would have us despair life as a struggle in scarcity. But God is not scarce. God has done great things that in Jesus and the fruit of that requires use to recognize the abundance that God’s love creates in our lives. Paul recognized that even in their imperfect messiness the Christians of Corinth had everything they needed to live Jesus’s life right where they were. In the same way we have everything we need to love God, resist evil, and serve our neighbors right where we are, and God will be with us. 
Pastor Patrick
Last Published: September 3, 2020 11:11 AM
Empowered by Extend, a church software solution from