One of the most gifted writers I know. A genuinely deep sense of humility. A faith that is willing to wrestle through the dark days. This is my friend Cody. She and I met 7 years ago in a Bible Study. A few years later, we both found ourselves at Bayou City Fellowship and I had the joy of getting to know her more. Now, in different places, I only see Cody on occasion. In all of those years, there is one quality that stands out. Peace. Cody carries with her rest for tired souls. Whether reading her writings or sharing life over a cup of coffee, Cody’s words are a place of restoration. I know her words to us today will be the pause and life-giving breath many of us need.
In her own words: I love my family, my friends, my dog, words, group games and efficient errand-running. I thrive off of good conversations with trusted friends (preferably over ice cream or coffee), and if laughing was a hobby, it would be my favorite one. I’m not sure about everything in this thing called life, but I have found that the Lord is good and that He loves us, and I go from there.
You served communion today.
I was sitting in the second row. I really like sitting up front like that, but I’m a little insecure about it too, so I rarely do. (I also rarely admit that. Now you know.) But there, from my second row seat, I had the privilege of watching so many of you stream through the line.
You pull your portion of bread off of the whole.
The Body of Christ broken for you.
You dip your piece in the common cup.
The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.
And I could weep. Because of your beauty. Each one of you. All of you together. You are skin-wrapped bearers of the God that I love. You are His hands and His feet and His ears and His shoulders. Not only to the world, but also to me.
I know that you are only a part of this vast thing called the Body of Christ. I know that Christ’s Church is much larger than the one we attend on Sundays. I know this because my church is much larger than the one I stood among this morning, because ones I dearly love gathered around the city and the state and the country.
And so I write this to the ones of you I hugged this morning, to the ones who gathered elsewhere, to the ones I do not even know.
You raised me. You correct me. You encourage me. You make me laugh. You let me cry. You let me try. You graciously bow your head when I fail. You cheer when I win. You whisper prayers over me. You kneel on my behalf more times than I will ever know. You text and call and sometimes knock on my door, showing up when I don’t know I need you. You let me sit in silence. You let me struggle when you know I need to find Him outside of everyone else.
And, well, what I want to say more than anything else is thank you.
Thank you for letting the Spirit of Christ dwell in you. Thank you for letting Him live through you. Thank you for letting Him speak and heal and pray and laugh. Thank you for being God with skin on. Each of you. All of you. Together.
You aren’t always perfect. And that’s part of your beauty. We are a marred mess of individuals making up this one collective Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:18). We aren’t perfect witnesses to who He is, but we are witnesses nonetheless, empowered by the very Spirit of God to represent Him to this broken world (Acts 1:8).
Sometimes we are the broken Body of Christ right here in this broken world—beaten and bleeding and buried not by an enemy but by our very own selves. The left hook to our own jaw. The heel slammed down hard on our own foot. The elbow to our own ribs. And we reel in pain. And it smacks of betrayal. And it hurts all the more because the Head, our Christ, keeps insists that we are one (1 Corinthians 12, John 17).
Oh, yes, the Body of Christ is a terrifying thing when it goes awry.
Brothers and sisters fight hard and often unfair. Isn’t that always the way with those closest to us? The capacity to wound is somehow heightened by proximity. I’m sorry I’ve hurt you. I forgive you for the times you’ve nearly killed me.
But when we get it right, when this marred mess of individuals miraculously melds into the one Body of our Lord, I’d venture to say that there is nothing more beautiful. I keep wanting to say that you wear Him well, but it might be more accurate to say that He wears you well. His Spirit shines in and through you, refracting through those places you wish weren’t yours to share, and splashing colors and light into the fraudulent dark.
So, yes, thank you. For being Christ to me. Each of you. All of you. For letting me be Christ to you. For letting me be Christ with you.
Oh, Church, it is an honor and a joy to walk through life a part of you.
I love you so much.