I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks thinking about what binds us together and what sets us--the part of the Body of Christ we call Live at Five--apart. It’s a paradox: what binds us together not only with one another but with all of creation is also what sets us a part. Bound together in that paradox are food, friendship, faith and maybe more than a measure of hope. We gather around a table where all are welcome and all are fed. We gather as friends. We gather in faith. We live in hope.
Long ago, St. Augustine said over the bread we receive at communion, “Behold what you are, become what you see.” A paradox within a paradox. We are the Body of Christ, we gather as the Body of Christ, we receive the Body of Christ and yet we are called to become the Body of Christ.
One way of being the Body of Christ is living in friendship with God, with one another and with God’s creation. A friendship formed not in uniformity but in diversity. A dynamic kind of friendship. A friendship formed in “isness” yet leaning into possibility. A friendship that needs feeding just as our bodies need feeding.
You and I feed that friendship in a myriad of different ways: in prayer, in silence, in common worship, in shared activities. We at Live at Five gather for worship and, once a month, we gather to share a meal. Each of us brings a dish. Together we make a meal. Together we form the Body of Christ.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” You and I gather in the faith that we really can be the Body of Christ, that we really can become what we see as we extend our hand to receive the communion bread. Our challenge--both as individuals and as the Live at Five community--is living into that audacious hope.
I don’t think that there is any one right way to live into that hope. There’s no all-for-one recipe to follow or formula to apply. After all, the Body of Christ is as diverse as the rest of God’s creation. And yet I do believe that becoming the Body of Christ does entail following Jesus. A path that often leads to the margins. A path that brings the reign of God near.
It’s living into the conviction that God’s great welcome table is not a thing of the future but a part of the present that both brings us together and that sets us apart from a jaded world. We live into that conviction every time we gather for worship. We live into that conviction at our monthly pot lucks. And next month on Sunday, August 11 at 7:00 a.m., we will live into that conviction in a different way when we as the Live at Five community gather with another part of the Body of Christ--the Congregation of St. Martin’s for common worship followed by a breakfast we serve and share. Together we’ll be forming the Body of Christ.
In gratitude for our shared journey of food, friendship and faith,