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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Christ's Body

Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ. It is a day dedicated to the knowledge and understanding of the Eucharist. Although our priest gave an inspiring and educational sermon, quoting Church fathers from the first, second and third centuries (and I'm going to try to get some of those from him, because they were so interesting to me), I find myself thinking of the other meaning of the Body of Christ: The Church.

Our church family is our family here. Rich's folks live a couple hours away, his brother is two states away right now, my dad is a couple continents and an ocean away, our aunts and uncles, cousins and their families are spread all over the country and the world, and with the exception of Rich's paternal grandparents, we have no grandparents left. Our church family is truly a family. Not just our parish, either, our Bishop and his wife, who live in California, know all of us by name, including our children, pray for our specific needs and remember them when they speak to us. Other church members in other cities and states also know us, care for us and pray for us. We are truly blessed.

Our church is a group of people who will hem your pants for you when you mention you can't find pants that fit that are short enough, make a maternity dress for you because you foolishly gave away all but two of them on the last baby, make meals and bring them to those who are sick, injured, home with a new baby or mourning the loss of a loved one, visit those in prison and pray for them continually, go paint the condo of a fellow church member who has to sell to pay off his bills and restore financial stability to his life, joyfully watch and care for each others' children, answer the phone at any hour of the day or night ready to act or pray or listen. We are so thankful for these people that God has put into our lives. We've had people come take care of the kids on short or no notice, we've had people come build a fence in our yard, two weeks in a row, all day, we've had people bring meals, take our kids so we could get work done, loan us cars, bring food over, fold our laundry, wash our dishes, vacuum our carpets, you name it, they've done it. Most of all they pray for us, they love us, and they challenge us with the truth of the Lord and His commands.

This afternoon, while at lunch with Rich's dad and his grandparents, we needed to call some church friends to ask them a pretty big favor. Rich didn't know how to start so he called Rachelle and asked how they would like to spend time with her family in Oregon in two weeks. How she answered was a perfect indication of how our church body works:

"Do you need our house?"

He told her it was a bit more complicated than that, and explained what had happened and what we needed and why we thought of them. She said she needed to check with her husband, but that as far as she was concerned, it was a go.

I love that our friends, our family here, are so open handed, liberal in the sense of the virtues, as to think nothing of going away from their own home, because another family might need it. This is the Body of Christ to which we belong.

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I am glad for you, and wish that when I was young, I had been raised in a church family like that.
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