Pastoral Perspectives

I don’t need luck, I have You

In the movie Stars Wars Rogue One, Chinese actor Donnie Yen who plays a blind warrior monk, Chirrut Imwe has this mantra “I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.” For Chirrut, it is meant to connect him deeper to this mystical and ubiquitous higher power known as the Force in times of crisis and trials.

As much as we know that the Force only exists in the Star Wars fictional universe, seeing how this blind man calmly chants the mantra and then confidently enters into the fray and emerge unscathed despite the overwhelming odds can be rather inspiring. After all, this mantra succinctly embodies the movie’s oft-repeated theme of hope. It is no wonder that for die-hard fans, some may actually believe that by imitating Donnie’s Star Wars character, they too can find the strength to steady themselves in difficult times. 

Interestingly enough, as much as Chirrut is a “believer” of the Force, he too is keenly aware that he needs another person to watch his back in their time of combat. In one particular scene, Chirrut retorted “I don’t need luck. I have you.” In this case, Chirrut was referring to Baze Malbus, who serves as a courageous guardian and loyal companion to him. Here, we are once again reminded that regardless of whether we are Christians or not, the truth is we all desire to have someone come alongside us whenever we are going through suffering or challenging moments.

In the Star Wars universe, the Force is presented as something impersonal and there is no distinction between “it” and the rest of creation. In addition, the Force makes no objective distinction between good and evil. The Force is either good or evil, depending on how one taps into it via our emotions.

If you think about it, this would be a rather sad universe to live in since it would suggest that humans simply came into existence without any reason or given purpose. It would also mean that there is no one whom we can ultimately turn to for moral guidance and to rely upon in our times of need. Indeed, to hold fast to Chirrut’s mantra is as good as saying that we are all mindful of the existence of oxygen and air pressure all around us and if we can somehow harness the wind energy, we can use it for good or evil. Put simply, we are on our own and everything depends on ourselves.

As we enter into 2017, politicians and economists are telling us to brace ourselves for uncertainties and a likely gloomy year. However, as God’s children, we can be thankful that God has given us more than just a chant to see us through life’s challenges. While it is helpful to commit verses of Scripture to memory, we must be mindful that we do not end up quoting Bible verses in our prayers and believing that this will grant us the power and authority to influence the outcome of a situation to our favour. Such a worldview would actually be pagan, a kind of spiritual mumbo-jumbo rather than Christian. Instead of heaping up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, thinking that they will be heard for their many words, God’s people should come before God in humble faith and rest in the assurance that our Heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask him (Matt 6:7-8). 

The good news of the Gospel is that God exists and that He has graciously given himself unto us in the person of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is Immanuel – God with us, we are not left to go through life on our own. For those who have placed our trust in the saving work of Jesus, sin is no longer the barrier that hinders us from having a personal relationship with a holy and loving God.

More importantly, only a transcendent, personal and triune God can meet our deepest needs. All other worldviews falls short of providing a coherent account and emotionally satisfying explanation to the questions of our origins, morality, meaning and destiny. And in a world where people continue to place their hopes on everything else except Jesus, we as Christians are called to live our lives in a manner that will point others to a new and better hope (1 Pet 3:15). More than just some feel-good movie, people need to hear of a bold and loving proclamation of a historical fact – a truth that in Christ, God has defeated the wicked reign of sin and overcome death, our final enemy. Through Jesus, God now grants us real deliverance and a promise of an abundant life (John 10:10). Indeed, whoever has the Son has life (1 John 5:12). And if we already have the Son, luck won’t be necessary.

Rev Edwin Wong

January 1, 2017