Lately I’ve been fixated on an idea, trying to find the right way to express it.
That’s not as easy as it sounds, even in general, but you see we’ve also been on Spring Break over here.
We didn’t go on any exotic trip to distant lands, but we stayed plenty busy.
I hope, then, that you’ll indulge me if my expression of this idea is less than beautiful.
I’ve been thinking about the body of Christ, the fellowship of believing people.
When I began picturing it, probably because I have three elementary-age kids, I thought of gack…
(Or is it officially Gak with a little circled TM after it?)
Start with Jello,
Something smushable, physically both solid and liquid, translucent or opaque, a state of plasma.
Gooey and messy, mesmerizing even while it is a little bit gross.
This is the mystical body of Christ.
Okay, not the gross part, but stick with me for a minute.
Imagine an enormous, floating state of suspension off in space somewhere.
And you’re inside of it, along with a LOT of other people.
This is how I picture the body of Christ.
It’s not a physical body, of course, but the community of believers aiming in the same direction, aimed at resembling Him more and loving more fully.
Don’t try to google map it, you won’t find it.
Don’t bother making a pilgrimage, you won’t get there.
It is what happens when you understand that there is world full of people who fill the air full of holy moments, full of whispered hopes and tear stained prayers.
These people are your people.
Their theology may look different.
Their details may not line up with yours.
But when the brush of angel wings pass by, they feel it.
When the Spirit settles heavy in the room, they know.
These are my people.
Maybe the image of a river current works better for your stomach than the idea of being surrounded by and submerged in breathable Gak. I can’t blame ya.
Let’s go with the river idea (but I have to say that the tangible, textural surrounding of plasma, almost like being “underwater” in a ball pit has a sense of a full-body hug, which does work for me).
A river…Ahhh…that’s nicer.
Like a quiet river, the body of Christ carries me along when I can’t paddle myself. Their current lifts me and I lean back into the knowledge that they can pray on my behalf. They can believe for me when my belief is reduced to a pebble. There will come a time when I can carry someone else along, hold them up so they can safely drift. Right now it is my turn. It is my turn to trust their prayers will be heard, since I cannot form them on my lips. I trust their candles, their worship, their long obedience that will pull me further down river until I can regain my footing and my strength.
My own lack of activity does not diminish or detract from the river itself. I am still an addition, and I am enveloped before I need ask.
I glide along beside them, safely held until I regain, or form in a new way, the faith I’ve always had.
Even though this post has a sense of lightheartedness, I mean this in every serious way.
There are days when too many things are piled on top of an already heavy burden.
There are days when God’s hand seems withdrawn.
Sometimes, I want to take issue with God and the slapdash way He’s running the place.
Sometimes I don’t want to think about Him at all.
In these times, be they long or short, I have a sense that I don’t have to muster up faith. I don’t have to pep-talk myself into belief. There is a whole ball-pit, Gak blob, river full of people who can do that for me. Until I can do it myself, they can float me along, regaining my strength, hope, optimism, trust.
And if you’re one of those people in the river, I thank you. I hope that one day I will be able to carry you along on the current of my belief, and I hope that is soon. Until then, I won’t struggle. I will allow myself to depend upon you.
Don’t let me get water up my nose, okay?