We, the church, have amputated the limbs of Christ. By failing to be them. When Jesus ascended to heaven, he left his Spirit with us, to indwell us, to empower us to be Christ to others, but we so often fail to live up to this calling.
In David Alfaro Siqueiros’s colored lithograph, Jesus is trying to move but cannot. It used to be that he walked about freely with purpose and intention, healing people, feeding people, advocating for the powerless and the oppressed, and sharing the good news of a coming kingdom, and how one might become a part of it. But today it seems that Christ has become a quadriplegic. We many times have no problem being his mouth, but what’s just as important is that we be his hands and feet.
The sixteenth-century Spanish mystic St. Teresa of Avila wrote an exhortative poem on the subject:
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.
The contemporary Christian band Casting Crowns, too, wrote a song to a similar effect: “If we are the Body, why aren’t His arms reaching? / Why aren’t His hands healing? / Why aren’t His words teaching? / And if we are the Body, / why aren’t His feet going? / Why is His love not showing them there is a way?”
Imagine how different the world would be today if the body of Christ actually moved and spoke and acted like the historical Christ on a daily basis. We would see such amazing transformation, in every aspect of existence.
Dear God, please forgive us for restricting your mobility and reach on earth by failing to be the body you called us to be. Please renew your Spirit within us today, so that we can act with power, love, and soundness of mind as we extend your grace to others, in the name of your Son, Jesus.
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