Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fullness of life

Some days feel like a ride on a seesaw, and the one on the other side is alternately huge and tiny. It’s a bumpy ride that, at times, jars your insides and other times, nearly tosses you off entirely. Terrible news is followed by amazing news which is followed by a scary or devastating experience which is followed by a mountain-top moment. It can be exhausting.

These are the days I call “fullness of life.” What a gift it is to share with someone in an experience so joyful you’re both brought to tears, and what an honor it is to cry with someone else enduring a great sadness or pain.

Through these moments, the beauty of the fullness of human experience, the hope given to us by our Savior, and the importance of community are revealed. I can’t imagine having great news to share and no one to tell! I also can’t imagine how anyone gets through really hard times without having someone to lean on and walk with them through it.

Community – friendship – is a how we reflect the love of God to one another. God is always with us, as Jesus promised, sharing our joys and sorrows, breakthroughs and breakdowns, only now God is also present through us, the church. We are the dwelling place of God on earth. We bear the Spirit of Christ into the world. It is as St. Teresa of Avila once said,

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body…
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

So when we listen to a suffering friend or hold their hand as we pray with them, we are embodying Christ for them. When we celebrate the freedom a friend experiences from discovering and living into their truth, we are mirroring the love of God to them.

The mystery is this: when we embody and reflect the love of God to another person, we benefit too. God is like that and it is marvelous in our eyes. Sharing the kindness, compassion, presence, and mercy of God with another living soul somehow fills our own soul to overflowing as well. Everybody wins - and only God can do that.

St. Paul teaches us that we are the body of Christ, the church, and individually members of it. (1Cor12:17) We are the vehicle by which God in Christ is present, touches, and blesses the world today. This is no small thing and at times it’s exhausting, but it’s an amazing grace that permeates our life in Christ, and I, for one, am grateful.

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