Ordained fourteen years, I have gathered around the table with a community of the faithful three or four times a week. “The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven.”
Into countless open hands I’ve placed a piece of bread, broken off of a larger loaf. “The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you in everlasting life.”
A holy and sacred moment shared. “One bread, one body.”
We become this body through baptism, partaking of meals together, sacred and ordinary, opportunities to connect with our friends and colleagues, and as we care for friend and stranger. We share our lives and find ministries in common that help make life more meaningful. We serve on committees and commissions, boards and teams, striving for vibrant and transformational relationships with God and our neighbor.
Scripture, such as Matthew 18, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 13, remind us that we are called to be in relationship with one another. This means we are to lead a life worthy of that to which we have been called; to build up the body, be mature, speak the truth in love, and don’t let the sun go down on our anger.
In truth, following the wisdom of scripture can be challenging. Broken human beings, we gossip and speak behind the back of the one who hurt us. We point fingers and lay blame. We tend to blame someone else for how we feel, project our hurt onto another person, but fail to see our role in the breakdown of the relationship. Instead of gossiping, blaming, and projecting we might focus on the self and wonder, “Why am I so anxious? Why am I so hurt? Why am I so angry?”
Then, you might also ponder “How might I have responded differently? What could I do to stay in relationship? Am I brave enough to really embrace the notion that the only person I can change is myself?”
Jesus reminds us to first explore the log in our own eye. Then, go to the person with whom we feel hurt and have a conversation, with the intention of learning more, instead of blaming. This is how we love God, and love others as ourselves as mature people building up the body instead of breaking it.
May the Body of Christ be broken open, not apart, and shared with love, that we might be made whole.
The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski serves as the Rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Dearborn, MI and as the Convenor of the Episcopal Women's Caucus. She holds a dual degree M.Div/MSW with an emphasis in Family Systems for Congregations and is trained in Mediation for Congregations and Healthy Congregations by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center and Appreciative Inquiry with Rob Voyle. In addition to serving on the board for the EWC she previously served on the boards of OMNI Youth Services in Chicago and the RevGalBlogPals, as a regional Dean in the Diocese of Chicago, and as the regional liaison for Episcopal Migration Ministries.
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