We call the church the body of Christ; do we even come close to living up to that name? Really? I realized last week how tired I am of hearing “That’s too bad.” or “Someone should help them.” in response to tragedies and hard situations. I’m tired of hearing those words everywhere, but especially within the church. Somehow, I just can’t imagine those words coming out of Jesus lips. I can’t see Jesus passing by, or using prayer as an excuse not to do more. But it is not my place to pick the sawdust out of everyone else’s eyes before taking the log out of my own. I’m just as guilty of that as anyone else. I try not to settle for apathy, but that doesn’t mean that I always succeed when tested…
Power walking down the hall, heading for the door that would lead me to my bus I spotted a blond head out of the corner of my eye. I heard her sobbing, and I saw the tears. This was a girl I had casually chatted with on a couple of occasions, her head down as she wept, sitting on the wooden bench by the door. I knew I should stop. I can’t tell you how, but I just knew. Some other girls, presumably her friends were coming up behind me, talking at her from a distance. I slowed my pace, just another gawker who would walk on the other side of the way. Just another person who knew who her neighbor was, but was unwilling to help. I reasoned myself out of it. If you stop you won’t be able to reach your bus on time. It isn’t a short story, the one she has to tell. Besides, you don’t know her. Her friends will know how to help her better. And with the swish of a door her problems were out of my life excepting a quick prayer which did little to ease my conscience.
Would that have been Jesus response? I’ll answer that question with a resounding no. Jesus came to help the hurting, and to bring them release from their sins. Yet how often is that my own response, or the response of the supposed ‘body of Christ’? More often than we would like to admit, I’m sure. We like to think of the fatherless as those across the sea. We like to categorize those widows Jesus talked about as out of our sphere of influence. Often we will put our money where our mouth is, but ourselves? Do we work to bring the kingdom down to earth? Do we suffer as if we were actually those we are in prison? Rarely.
I discovered this last week how utterly fulfilling it is to put our bodies where our mouths are. To get dirty, and to be used by God in the life of others is an amazing experience. But more importantly I discovered that there is still hope for the body of Christ. We are imperfect, and we mess up, but when God put an apparent need for more than prayer in the path of our churches journey many rose to meet it. How helpful were we actually? I don’t know, but I know we tried. It was encouraging to see the church becoming Jesus hands and feet, it was thrilling to watch vehicles continually pull up into that driveway. Representatives from a couple of churches, and all walks of life showed up because that prayer request on the computer screen needed to be met. Sometimes God calls us to pray and sometimes God calls us to be answers to prayer. The church may be defective, but satan has far from entirely won the battle, and so when the special music for Sunday was How Beautiful is the Body of Christ I was able to agree with a wholehearted yes. All is not lost, and though the body may be very marred and broken, the right heart still beats beneath that exterior: the heart of God, and that’s what really counts