All Are Needed

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Rev Erin Moore, All are Needed, 1 Cor 12:12-32

Growing up my grandmother’s freezer was always filled to the max. You name it, it was probably in her freezer – frozen meals, leftovers, veggies, ice cream and other frozen desserts. So full, that when you opened it you always needed to be prepared, for chances were good something would fall or, at times, fly out at you – sherbet containers, frozen meats, ice cream bars… And so the joke came that grandma’s freezer was booby trapped. You’d always know if someone had been in there, and even when you put everything back, chances were good the next time it was opened it’d happen all over again…

And while frozen meats or full sherbet containers can leave a mark, they were certainly a lot less deadly than the booby traps found in the 1980s classic the Goonies.

This group of boys, devastated by the thoughts of having to move out of their neighborhood after the land was bought out to expand the local country club, decide to go out on a hunt for one eyed Willie’s long lost treasure after finding an old map in the attic of Mikey’s house. They set out after locking Mikey’s older brother in a trap of his own fitness equipment, only to find they need to get into the basement of an abandoned restaurant that is the current hideout of the murderous thief’s the Fratellis. Almost all of them manage to make it into the trap door of the basement fireplace, escaping the Fratellis but then running into a series of booby traps (that’s what I said, booby trap) and a maze of obstacles along the way with the map only somewhat helping.

These booby traps and obstacles that make it so they all have to work together. Every step of the way at least one, if not all, helps them to keep going. Mikey, the encourager continues to speak how this adventure might be their last, how if they don’t go into the fireplace what life will they have left in Astoria, as they will soon all have to move. He holds on to the promise that things will get better, he holds on to hope all along the way, even in the midst of life-threatening danger. He reminds them how this rag-tag group of youth, these Goonies have made it further than an expert and helps give them all hope along the way.

Data, with all his inventions, helps to set booby traps, save his own life with his clenching teeth, and helps save the rest using his extended punching arm to knock the Fratellis away as they came too close, uses his slippery shoes to slow the Fratellis down.

Without Mouth they wouldn’t be able to read/translate the map written in Spanish which is what is needed to help them find the entrance point, move them through obstacles, and get them to the ship.

Brandon seems to be the one who is able to keep them all calm. Even though he argues not to go on this adventure since it’s not safe, once on the journey, in the tunnels and caves, in the midst of near-death experiences, esp almost falling to his death, he continues to help keep everyone calm.

Andy and Stef the two female lead roles are both also needed to help this group along. Andy, both a worrier and one who cares deeply, finds herself holding everyone up while needing to use her very rusty piano skills. Stef continues to bring people back to reality, that they sometimes don’t always see, want to see, but at times need to see.

Even Chunk, while trying to get help and then locked in a room with Sloth, comes to join his friends, to help save them from the Fratelli’s after the police don’t believe the tall tail teller. He forms this very real and very deep relationship with Sloth almost immediately. This relationship that helps save his friends, get them all out of the cave safely, and even helps save Sloth.

This rag-tag group of youth, these Goonies have been having adventures since as long as they can remember. And while none compares to this, they have already learned, they know, they can’t do it alone. The group, the body, each one of them with their skills and gifts, as much as they make fun of each other for them, they are needed. Much like what Paul tells the Corinthians in his letter to this newly formed community.

No one is greater than the rest, all are needed for all have different skills and gifts and all make up the body of Christ. The foot is not more important than the hand, nor the nose more important than the ear. Every part of the body from the eyes all the way down to the pinkie toe is needed. Every skill and gift from prophecy to discernment, from gifts of healing to the gift to the gift of teaching, all are needed, not one can be ignored, left out, pushed aside.

For when one in the body is left out, it negatively affects the whole body. I mean, if Andy had left the Goonies for satey, going up the wishing well, it would have negatively affected the whole group. Who would have been able to play the piano, to help get them to safety, especially as the Fratelli’s were so quickly closing in… If Mikey wasn’t so hopeful, they all would have lost hope long before even entering the fireplace. All were needed.

And here’s the thing, as it was with the Goonies, as it was when Paul wrote this letter, so it is still true today. All are needed. All gifts, all people are needed to be gathered into the body of Christ. All are needed in our great diversity of identity, race, gender, age, socio-economic status, you name it, in every diverse way, we are needed to form the body. Not one of us or even just a few of us can do it on our own.

But Paul goes further than just saying all are needed, he goes on to say that when one is suffering, all are suffering. If one rejoices, all rejoice. This is how closely connected we are as the body of Christ. It’s what we see in Goonies, as one suffered, they all suffered – as one rejoiced they all rejoiced.

And well, right now in our country, within the Church universal, there is suffering. Black and brown siblings are being killed at alarming rates by violence and sin. Black men can’t go out for a run without the threat of their lives, they can’t go bird watching without the police being called on them. They can’t sell CDS or cigarettes or leave parties safely. Black boys can’t play cops and robbers or go buy a pack of skittles without having their life taken. Black women can’t get pulled over, seek help from police, or even be asleep in their own homes without being killed. The black community can’t go to church, can’t go to Bible study without being killed… and to put this in perspective, the young white nationalist terrorist who went into that church and killed those individuals and forever scared the lives of others present, was taken alive, safely, and police even bought him burger king after this horrific event.

Our siblings are suffering, they are hurting, they are living in fear and for far too long many of us have remained silent, ignored it, looked the other way, or thought we had moved on from all of this from the 60s. We’ve let our siblings suffer as if they were not a part of us, a part of our body, like we didn’t, don’t need them. Like a diabetic, we let the wound on our foot fester for too long, in hopes that ignoring it, it would just go away. But the truth is, now it’s going to be a painful healing process.

But a healing process that is needed. We must come together. We must learn to listen, to believe the stories, to help raise their voices. We must support everyone’s gifts, everyone’s skills, everyone’s personhood, everyone’s imago dei, created in the image of God. For there is a better way, a more excellent way that we are to strive for, together.

And there’s this really powerful scene at the end of Goonies… no, not when Rosalita, the spanish woman hired to help Mikey’s family pack up their house to move, finds jewels hidden in Mikey’s marble bag. Not when Mikey’s father uses it to save all the houses in foreclosure, to save the whole community.

But, there’s this really powerful moment where Chunk, this young Jewish boy, the only one whose faith story we somewhat know, tells Sloth he’s going to live with him now, that Chunk will take care of him. This is before Chunk even asks his parents, before his parents know anything about Sloth, even meet him. This man who was for so long ostracized and excluded from community, who was in need of healing, mercy, and love. A more excellent way when all are included in community. A more excellent way when we live in community together, when we truly become the body of Christ in and for the world.

And so I just wonder what more wonderful, more excellent way God has for us if we truly live into being the body of Christ, if we suffered and rejoiced with one another, if we lifted each other’s gifts and talents up, if we recognized all are needed to make up the body of Christ… If we listened to and believed the stories of our siblings and how they are hurting, in what ways change is needed so we may all one day rejoice together… If we lifted up all skills and gifts of the Spirit, if we recognized the Spirit at work in one another… If we put aside our own safety to go out on an amazing, and at times life threatening, adventure to save our community, to save our world… a more excellent way.

Let us listen to one another, learn to value, appreciate and lift up each other’s gifts and talents. Let us learn to love one another, truly, so that when one suffers we all suffer so that we can one day all rejoice together. Let us realize all are needed to make up the body of Christ, to fully live out being Christ in and for the world. Let us start today.

New Testament Lesson: 1 Corinthians 12:12-32   

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

New Testament Lesson: Colossians 3:23-25

Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters,[a] 24 since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve[b] the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong has been done, and there is no partiality.

So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.

Meditations For Your Week                                       

Sunday, June 21 ~ Saturday, June 27, 2020

 Sunday: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12: 12.  Pray for the body of Christ.  We are made up of many different parts held together by the connective fiber of Jesus.  Pray for the wisdom and perseverance of the body of Christ.

Monday:  “For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13.  Where is God calling you to find commonalities within the Spirit?  Where can you find common ground with your brothers and sisters?

Tuesday: “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?” 1 Corinthians 12: 17.  We need one another.  No one part can make it without the other parts.  In your wisdom, find humility to depend on, even those you find least desirable.

Wednesday: “On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,” 1 Corinthians 12:22. Consider that those we have called ‘the least of these’ are needed and valuable, vital and essential.  The least, the last, and the lost all have faces, addresses, and family.  Pray for the transforming of your mind.

Thursday: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26.  Pray for your brothers and sisters who hurt and celebrate with those who rejoice.  May you know the fullness of sorrow and reaches of joy as you are surrounded in community.

Friday: “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” 1 Corinthians 12: 27.  Christ has no hands, but your hands; no feet, but your feet, and no heart, but your heart.  You are the a part of the body of Christ.

Saturday: “But strive for the greater gifts.” 1 Corinthians 12: 32.  God does not call God’s people to get by with mediocrity.  But rather, we are called for excellence, so that the glory of God might shine through us.  Strive for the greater gifts!