Experiencing the Body of Christ
“The body of Christ, given for you.”
Such simple words. Yet, such deep and profound words which connect us with God and each other, both spiritually and physically, through all time and space.
I move down the line, distributing the wafer to each person who has come forward to receive Holy Communion. I repeat those words as I press the wafer into open and extended hands. Eyes meet mine as we celebrate this holy moment. We are the Body of Christ gathered and united at Christ’s table.
I recently served as a pastoral presence in a congregation which had suffered the rapid decline and death of their pastor’s spouse. For five weeks, I was asked to preside at Holy Communion so the pastor could tend to his spouse and then to his own self-care after her death. Other leaders preached and conducted worship. I offered a reminder to them in difficult and painful times that we are never separated from Christ. Christ is truly present in Holy Communion.
For me, it was a gift to look into their eyes each week and dwell in this sacred space. Yet, my experience of being a part of the living, moving Body of Christ extended beyond just that worship space. Others gathered around this community to assist as they grieved, because we are united with them in that space, too. Area pastors created a schedule for emergency visitations, should they occur. Others made themselves available to talk with and walk with the pastor. The Body of Christ was alive and moving all around them. It still is.
I told this blessed community of faith who gathered each Sunday around the table, that for me, my time with them was a real Body of Christ experience. Typically, we use these words in our proclamation of the Gospel, but we don’t often see or feel them as intensely as I did here. Even times of intense pain can be times of great blessedness for pastor and people. That is the good news amid even the bleakest times.
My prayer for them, and for us all, is that we more frequently experience our lives as part of the living and moving Body of Christ because it is our reality as Christians, called and gathered by the Holy Spirit. I have been transformed by this gift of looking into their eyes. Now my eyes have been opened in a new way to the miracle of Christ’s presence among us every day.