Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Body of Christ

One of the things I like about religion (and life in general) is the way things can mean two different things. Puns are one light example, but I think of symbols as falling in this same general category. I was thinking this last Sunday about the multiple meanings of the body of Christ as I took the sacrament.

The bread of the sacrament represents Christ's literal body, which was broken and torn for us. It's a poignant reminder of his suffering, which itself is a representation of the love he had for us. But (probably inspired by this post about the sacrament) I was also thinking of the other scriptural meaning of the body of Christ. The phrase is also a metaphor for the Church, meaning the people who make up the followers of Christ. Paul speaks beautifully about how we are all part of one large body of Christ, and every body part is equally valuable. (Good thing he didn't have access to this wikipedia article.)

In this secondary context, the sacrament reminded me of how the members of Christ's church (broadly construed) are all torn and hurt, ravaged at times in ways that remind us of Christ's own suffering. As I ate the bread that was handed to me, I tried to think of the members of the Church who feel broken and bruised--and how I might be able to help them. I confess I didn't come up with any particularly insightful answers, but I did feel a kinship to my fellow sisters and brothers, and a renewed desire to make them feel like they really do belong to the body of Christ. I consider this a theological pun :)

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