This week in church we celebrated Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples like a mighty wind with tongues of fire, filling the disciples and preparing them for their mission in the world.
Pentecost also is celebrated as the church’s birthday, when the work of the Gospel moved from Jesus to his disciples out into the rest of the world.
A few months ago I wrote about “Being Immanuel,” and I want to revisit this concept again, focusing on what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
~ 1 Corinthians 12:27
I had heard this passage many times, but it took on new meaning for me when I couldn’t be where I wanted to be.
A friend was competing in her first figure competition, and I was disappointed that I couldn’t be there to cheer her on. A mutual friend was going to be there, and I had to rely on her to pass on my support. When I was texting, “Give T a hug for me!” it struck me how I was counting on her to really be “me” for my friend.
And then it hit me. That’s what it means to be the body of Christ. God counts on us to do His work in the world, to be the hands that help, the ears that listen, the shoulders that share burdens.
We can act as the body of Christ by loving our neighbor and helping those who can’t help themselves. Although Jesus commissioned his disciples to walk in His footsteps and forgive sins, it doesn’t take miraculous powers to spread God’s love–a friendly smile, a simple act of kindness, or a few encouraging words can make God real for others, just like my friend could make my support real when I couldn’t be there.