Little Christs*

Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)

Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

627px-Teresa_of_Avila_dsc01644

Let us never underestimate the ministry of individuals in the world.

A few years ago, when I was a parish minister, I held a weekly bible study group.  It wasn’t well attended – perhaps about half a dozen folk…but it was interesting.  We’d study a Bible passage and our chat about it would lead to this topic and that…sometimes wandering far from the original point of discussion

One evening we talked about the Church’s involvement in the world and everyone was feeling that the church was not doing enough. I pointed out that the church was probably doing much more than they realised because the church was made up of people like themselves living out their ministry in the world.

There were only six or seven people in that little group.

But one of them worked in a hospital shop and wheeled the trolley round the wards.  Another helped with the Guides and helped nurture young girls above and beyond the call of duty.  A musical member volunteered her services once a week as a pianist at an old folks home to entertain the elderly residents.   Another worked in a charity shop.  And another took a disabled member of our congregation for regular trips to the country in his car.

But none of them had actually realised that what they were doing was Christlike in any way.  They hadn’t really cottoned on to the fact that this was ministry – that it was following Christ and living the kind of caring life that he showed us in the world.

What’s really important? I think that it is in giving ourselves and loving in such a way that others could say we made a difference in their lives. That is rendering to God that which is God’s. That is the challenge to us all

*   “little Christs”  One of the  early books by Martin Luther was The Freedom of a Christian (1520). In it, he wrote, “[A]s our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbor through our body and its works, and each one should become as it were a Christ to the other that we may be Christs to one another and Christ may be the same in all, that is, that we may be truly Christians….

 

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