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We Are Christ’s Body

The Rev. Dr. William Rich
January 31, 2019

After Jesus himself, no single figure did more to shape Christian faith than St. Paul.  Many people – whether Christian or not – find Paul hard to stomach.  Some associate him with abhorrent attitudes towards women and gay folks, while others find his words strident and even arrogant.    


Our first reading on Sundays is almost always from the Old Testament, and so we rarely hear from Paul.  But in every Forum during the month of February, we will be giving our attention to Paul, and you will be hearing his words read in worship some as well.  I wonder what you will make of the Paul you encounter.  Will you be able to suspend previous assumptions and judgments to welcome him with fresh ears?


I particularly cherish one of Paul’s favorite images: the church as the Body of Christ.  It is all-too-easy to hear Paul’s body language as “merely” a metaphor, but I think he means it quite literally.  In the church, we quite simply would not have any life at all if we were not knit together into one body.  Just as you would be dead without a heart, so the church would be dead if we did not draw life from one another, and freely give it back again. 


Here at Trinity, we need one another for our community to be alive, and for its mission and ministry to thrive.  Think for a moment what it would be like if some Sunday, instead of the members of the choir leading us in singing, you had to do the singing all by yourself.  Or what if no members were giving their time and talents as church school teachers, and you had to take on those ministries by yourself?  No Communion without members of the body serving as altar guild or lay eucharistic ministers.  No hearing the Scripture or prayers without members giving their hearts and voices as lectors.  No feeding the hungry without members serving food at Pine Street Inn or Rosie’s Place.  And on it goes.


Just as any body revitalizes itself by growing new cells, so it is with us as the Body of Christ here in Copley Square.  Soon Morgan Allen and his family will be joining Christ’s Body here at Trinity, and they will be like new cells in our midst, bringing new life with them.  Like new cones and rods added to our eyes, they will help us see things we have not noticed before.  Like new stereocilia added to our ears, they will help us hear joys and sorrows in the body that we have been unattuned to. 


But for them to thrive as part of the body, they will need us every bit as much as we need them.  Our eyes to really see and welcome them.  Our ears to be curious about who they are and what they bring.  Our hearts to reach out to share belonging.  New life will blossom at Trinity through the symbiosis of all members of the body.


For as Paul reminds us, it is all our bodies acting together that make Christ’s Body alive.  Or as St. Teresa of Avila puts is so vividly,

Christ has no hands and feet but yours.  Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.  Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes.  You are his body.


What a joy it is to share with you the life that is ours as members of Christ’s Body here at Trinity!  See you in church.



The Rev. William W. Rich

Interim Rector




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