St. Paul, in his wisdom, called the early Christians, “The Body of Christ.” It was a genius, metaphorical move incorporating the actual body of Christ, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and the worshipping community. He says in his first letter to the church at Corinth that our individual selves make up the whole body (12:14-16), and that there should be empathy for those who suffer and joy for our interdependence as part of the Body of Christ (12:26). Therefore, no one in the church should feel inferior or unwanted (12:16). St. Paul’s deep appreciation for the human body, and what it means to have one, basically shaped the way we view corporate membership in the Church.
As I reflect on my own experience of having a body that feels tired so much of the time, I am also aware that I have stories to tell about my body unrelated to being sick, worn out or overwhelmed by the pandemic. There remains a holy space within me where the power that raised the crucified Christ dwells and moves me to hope, delight and anticipate God’s future blessing.
Collectively, our human bodies “tell out” stories of love and loss in sacred song and spoken word, thereby giving expression to the diverse Body of Christ that is St. Barnabas Church. Hence, I am grateful to and for every member of our church, regardless of who you love, how you hold your body and who holds you. For you are a blessing to our community and to the interdependent, yet diverse, Body of Christ we call the Episcopal Church.
Onward in Hope.
Gareth Evans serves as the rector of St. Barnabas. He is an inspirational leader who brings significant pastoral experience, a depth of reverence in worship, and a relatable preaching style.