Encountering Christ as the Body – Reflection for 25 AUG 2019
Last week, we explored what it might mean to encounter Christ in the Body and the Blood of the Eucharist. This week, we will look at what it means to encounter Christ as His Body, the Church. In several of his epistles, Paul describes the Church as the Body of Christ with Jesus as the Head. Paul also describes spiritual gifts as given for the body so that the body functions as a whole.
Encountering Christ as the Body calls us to set aside the individualism that our culture so prizes and embrace the community to which God calls us. Instead of seeking the worship service that suits our preference, we are called to engage in the life of the community into which God is forming us. In doing so, we are called to see the gifts of the Holy Spirit as given not to us but instead given to the Church through us.
Encountering Christ as His Body also calls us to move against our culture’s tendency to emphasize differences and foster separation into homogenous groups. Instead of seeking the denomination or theology that agrees most with our own individual belief, lifestyle, or issue. We are not called to be a community of “hands” separated from the community of “feet.” Neither should we try to make feet into hands or ears into eyes because it may be more comfortable for ourselves. Most certainly, we are not called to function as the head contravening the Word and will of God. Instead, we are called to be formed as one body with Christ as the head.
Encountering Christ as the Body not only calls us to act in ways that are counter to our culture but also extend us beyond our culture. The body of Christ includes people of all tribes and nations as equal members joined in worship and in community.
I pray that in our parish, in our city, in our diocese, and in communion with others around the world, we will encounter Christ as we live as His Body.