Wednesday, November 2, 2011

...the things themselves told her.

He showed her things on the mountain, things in the sky, things in the pools and streams wherever they went. He did better than tell her about them; he made her see them, and then the things themselves told her.
(George MacDonald's, Sir Gibbie)

When I teach, I want to do better than simply tell my students about the things of God. I want to sit them down at the feet of Christ, himself.

More than speak of beauty and truth, I want them to taste of it. I want their thirst slaked by living water, their hunger satisfied by the bread of life.

Word of God, speak. Illumine our paths. Sword of the Spirit, penetrate. Judge the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. Cloud of His presence, come down. Fill us with your glory.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Soaked in silliness and seasoned with truth."

Each Sunday, Kingdom Kids starts with a "Stop." It's a song from one of my favorite children's albums, Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies.

Slugs and Bugs is recording a new CD, and you can help fund the project. Here's how. Become a backer and join me in promoting music for kids that is "soaked in silliness and seasoned with truth."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"I know I'm not worthy, but please pass the salt."

I like this introduction to "I Am New." I think there are times when it is good and proper to pray, "I am not worthy." It's the prayer of the publican in Luke 18, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." But I find myself hanging out in this state of unworthiness all too often. The shame becomes crippling.

Yes, it's true, God desires a humble heart. But I wonder if my view of humility has become skewed. Maybe humility isn't as much my low view of myself as it is the recognition that I am a child, a child who relies on her Father for all things, including my righteousness, worth, and identity. 

Am I worthy of God's love and grace? Without a doubt, no. But does God lavish it on me anyway? Yes. And when God poured out His love and grace on the cross, something else happened...Christ's righteousness became my own. Today, I'm trusting that this is true, and I'm moving on to deeper and more intimate conversations with my Father.  

Check out the special edition of Jason Gray's new album, A Way to See in the Dark (set to release September, 13th). You can pre-order the CD today and get an immediate download of the newest single, "Remind Me Who I Am."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday Highlights

This week was Promotion Sunday. I'm grateful for the opportunity to watch Christ grow in and through these young ones as they mature in their faith. 

In Kinder-Kingdom, we talked about God's act of creation. The class went on a nature walk to observe God's handiwork firsthand. One of my favorite things about kids is their ability to see things that adults pass over (tune out?). Annie Dillard writes, "Only children can hear the song of the male house mouse. Only children keep their eyes open."Here are a few pictures from the nature walk:

In Kingdom Kids, we studied the first chapter of the book of John. Jesus is the Word. Jesus is the Light. Jesus is Life. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We learned about John's purpose in writing, "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Appearances (Fear, part 4)

Perspective (Fear, part 1)
Naming my Fear (Fear, part 2)
The Eternal God (Fear, part 3)

March 13, 2011

Max: I'm just going to play this piano for a minute. [Max sits and starts playing.]
Me: Oh, do you take piano lessons?
Max: No. I'm just good.

Kids are seldom inflicted with false modesty. They have an honest appraisal of themselves and speak what they see and feel. Too often I worry about appearances. Sometimes I even wonder if I desire the appearance of a virtue more than the virtue itself.

Last year when I was given a new car, I remember a good friend of mine saying, "You are so worried that someone will think you are materialistic." I wanted to retort, "Don't you mean, 'I admire your determination to avoid the trap of materialism?" But in time, I came to realize the truth in her statement. The appearance of humility (driving an old car with no air conditioner) had become my pride. I was worried about how others would perceive me in a new car.

In a sermon at Ozark Christian College a few years ago, Professor Kenny Boles said something that has floated in my memory ever since. He said, "We don't want to be holy as much as we want to be viewed as holy." Ouch.

So how do I change my desires? How do I become childlike? How do I gather the courage to step out from behind the lobster tank?

Trust. Community. The answer seems to lie in those two words.

Though we're strangers still I love you
I love you more than your mask
And you know you have to trust this to be true
And I know that's much to ask
But lay down your fears
Come and join this feast
He has called us here
You and me

("Peace" by Rich Mullins)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Eternal God (Fear, part 3)

Perspective (Fear, part 1)
Naming my Fear (Fear, part 2)

March 11, 2011

"I am God, the God of your father," he said. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again." (Genesis 46:3-4)

This morning I read of Jacob's encounter with God in Beersheba. It was in this very spot that Jacob's father, Isaac, built an altar, pitched his tent, dug a well, and called on the name of the Lord. It was here that Jacob's grandfather, Abraham, made an oath of peace, exchanged seven ewe lambs, planted a tree, and called on the Eternal God.

Jacob, you deceived and were deceived. You ran, worked, and wrestled. You were given a limp and renamed. Forgiven. You started a family that would become a nation, each of your sons a tribe. You lost your beloved wife and believed your son devoured by a beast. Famine brought hunger. Grief wrinkles your skin and grays your hair.

But now you stand, an old man on the same plot of land as your father. You stand by the well that brought forth water from the ground; dried, blistered, and cracked though it was. You stand beneath the shelter of a tree planted by your grandfather; the promise that his seed will take root and bless the world.

Do not be afraid, Jacob. The God of your fathers is the Eternal God, and he is faithful. He is your God, and he will not leave you until He has done what He has promised. There is still water bubbling beneath this barren land. Go to Egypt and prosper. Lie down in peace. Your seed has much to suffer yet, but he will thrive. A deliverer is coming. Do not be afraid.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Naming my fear (Fear, part 2)

Read Perspective (Fear, part 1) here.

March 10, 2011

"Always use the proper names for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself."

Naming my fears: asking for help, talking on the phone, wasps, inconveniencing/bothering others, not being able to play sports, disappointing people, being alone, not having a family of my own, that I'm nobody special, losing a loved one, failing in front of people, my failures will hinder God's work, people won't like me because I'm not insightful enough, hard-working enough, kind enough, etc.

Many of my fears have to do with how others perceive me. I am fearful of being rejected by others. Could this be because I am seeking my redemption from people instead of from God? Others of my fears have to do with not living up to a certain standard. Could this be because I am trying to get redemption by works instead of faith?

God, save me. Help me trust in you alone for redemption.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Perspective (Fear, part 1)

This past Lenten season, I committed to forgo fear. Each day, I scratched down a few of my thoughts in a journal. Throughout the next few days, I will revisit some of these journal entries. My posts typically sit simmering for many days before they are crafted into a meal and served up here. These next few entries will be raw. But I offer them here in hopes that you will not feel alone in your fear. I pray that together we may die to what once bound us; that we may become like Christ in his death so that we may also join in his resurrection.

March 9, 2011 (Ash Wednesday)

"You are dust, and to dust you shall return. And God loves you anyway." ~ Jonathan Rogers

"I am nothing, but the angels sometimes whisper in my ears." ~ Pierce Pettis

"Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I'll be healed." ~ Jill Phillips

This shell of a body will one day be no more. The world is aging, time passes, things deteriorate. I feel it in my bones. My knee aches. Creation groans. Life is but a breath. I am but a speck no bigger than Horton's. And I am loved.

If so many things are passing, what sticks? What lasts forever? Even faith and hope will serve their purpose and bow out gracefully. Only Love remains.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday Highlights

  1. The 4th grade Sunday School class studied Paul's letter to the Philippians. We talked about the call to greatness through humility in Philippians 2. We read Philippians 4 and talked about Paul's joy and peace in times of trouble. The kids shared stories of God's presence and provision during hospital stays, a house burning down, bumps and bruises, and the destruction of a home from the tornado. 
  2. Avery Jones (age 7) and Logan Ruzic (age 10) were both baptized this Sunday. I am thankful for the responsive and obedient hearts of the kids at RCC.
  3. During the worship time, Jonah, Caleb, and Lucas put their arms around each other, danced, and sang with joy. It's my prayer that the friendship these boys have will be just as strong (or stronger) 10 years from now.
  4. In small groups, we spoke of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. As such, his person and work can be described in Old Testament terms and imagery. Here are some of the posters the students made:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Creativity, Patience, and Generosity

Each week, I get to see God's work in the lives of K-6th grade students at Racine. Here are a few of the highlights from this Sunday.
  1. We braided lanyards to give to our mothers along with this poem by Billy Collins. Caleb was excited that he could now braid his sisters' hair and was anxious to try it out on the trip home. 
  2. In Sunday School, the 2nd-4th grade students discussed ways we can train to be patient. Here are some of their suggestions:
    1. Buy a candy bar and wait an hour to eat it.
    2. Wait for a train to pass.
    3. Tie a contraption to your head that dangles one of your favorite pieces of candy in front of (but just out of reach of) your mouth.
    4. Listen to your sisters singing in the car.
  3. Each week, the kids bring in money to help Effa and her family in Malawi.  Madison's letter, Jocelyn's homemade gift, and Lilly's bucketful of change are all examples of the compassionate heart and generous spirit displayed by many of the kids at RCC. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bread of Life

Four hundred years of back-breaking, brick-making labor. Blood, frogs, gnats, flies, livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and more blood. But this blood was the price of freedom. They stood, their backs to the sea and their faces toward the rising sun.

Across the desert they set out. Heat rose from the sand and scorched their sandaled feet. For 2 1/2 months, they trudged forward. Sure of what they were saved from, they could not yet see what they were saved for or to. Their stomachs rumbled and their mouths grumbled, "You have brought us out into the desert to starve to death!" Oh, for refreshment to come from above to cool their palates, quench their thirst, and fill their stomachs!
Then the Lord said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you" (Ex. 16:4).
The morning brought a fresh layer of dew upon the ground. When the dew lifted, white flakes flecked the earth. "What is it?" the people wondered. It was what they had been groaning for.


Fast forward 1,500 years. The Israelite people are slaves once again. This time their oppressors are not the Egyptians but the Romans. Crowds have gathered to hear the words of a miracle-worker who claims to be from God. Once again, the people are hungry. A quick survey of the crowd brings up only 5 small barley loaves and two small fish, a meager portion for a crowd so large. But it is enough. Jesus takes the bread, lifts it to heaven, and blesses it. Little becomes much. Everyone eats and each person has his fill.

The parallel seemed so clear to the Jewish crowd; a miraculous provision of bread and a prophet. Freedom. They rally to make Jesus king by force, but he slips away to a mountain haven. The next morning, the crowd finds Jesus on the other side of the lake in Capernaum, and ask him about the bread.
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" (John 6:32-33).
Bread from heaven.

It is now Passover. Jesus sits in an upper room with his disciples. He holds up a piece of bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it freely, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."

That very night, Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is bloodied, beaten, and bruised. His broken body is lifted up on a cross where he hangs until, with a loud cry, Jesus breathes his last. His body is taken down, wrapped, and tucked in a tomb where it remains for three days. But on the third day, that lifeless body drew a breath. Light shot through his limbs and life entered his lungs. Through Jesus' brokenness, the world finds healing.

Do you hunger? Does your stomach long to be filled? Have you (like me) tried to quiet the ache with activities, good deeds, intelligence, attention from your spouse, or praise from your peers? This bread may slake your hunger for a meal but it will always leave you just as empty. Jesus offers you the bread of life, his body broken for you. Take and eat. Be filled. It is enough.
I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6:35).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Leak in Time

Yesterday I watched as a long-time friend of the family was laid to rest. The funeral service brought together a holy mixture of the past, present, and future. Memories that had dipped beneath the waters of consciousness bobbed to the surface: watching Nertz and joining in the laughter; shoes caked in clay from a house in construction; feeding snakes, a game of Risk, a fish fry, and a room through a closet; burnt orange pews, roller blades on the parking lot, fellowship dinners, and baptisms at the creek; Nose ring soup at Youth Quake; a pinata at a birthday party. Adventure, joy, grace, and peace.

As memories of the past bobbed up, the promise of the future rained down. Hope tagged itself to the songs, stories, and scriptures shared. And as I gazed out at time-worn faces streaked with tears, I glimpsed, ever so faintly, sparkling in the distance, brighter days.

There was much sorrow and heartache (which is to be expected at a funeral), but there was something I did not expect, an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude for love given, love received, love shared, love lost, and love redeemed.

In time, yet out of time. Death, yet life. Now, but not yet. Soon. Easter is coming.

Time is told by death, who doubts it? But time is always halved - for all we know, it is halved - by the blink, the synapse, the immeasurable moment of the present. Time is only the past and maybe the future; the present moment, dividing and connecting them, is eternal. the time of the past is there, somewhat, but only somewhat, to be remembered and examined. We believe that the future is there too, for it keeps arriving, though we know nothing about it. But try to stop the present for your patient scrutiny, or to measure its length with your most advanced chronometer. It exists, so far as I can tell, only as a leak in time, through which, if we are quiet enough, eternity falls upon us and makes its claim. And here I am, an old man, traveling as a child among the dead.
 We measure time by its deaths, yes, and by its births. For time is told also by life. As some depart, others come. The hand opened in farewell remains open in welcome. I, who once had grandparents and parents, now have children and grandchildren. Like the flowing river that is yet always present, time that is always going is always coming. And time that is told by death and birth is held and redeemed by love, which is always present. Time, then, is told by love's losses, and by the coming of love, and by love continuing in gratitude for what is lost. It is folded and enfolded and unfolded forever and ever, the love by which the dead are alive and the unborn welcomed into the womb. The great question for the old and dying, I think, is not if they have loved and been loved enough, but if they have been grateful enough for love received and given, however much. No one who has gratitude is the onliest one. Let us pray to be grateful to the last.

[This exert comes from Wendell Berry's book, Andy Catlett.]

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Poured out

Mary's anointing of Jesus was the text for this Sunday's Kingdom Kids. While listening to sermons, studying the scriptures, and praying over this lesson, I got the sense of something more bubbling just beneath the surface. Since then, I've scratched at the surface hoping to unearth this treasure, but it's remained just beyond my reach. 

It had been two months since the event that had the whole town of Bethany abuzz. One of their own, a man named Lazarus, died and was in the tomb for four days when Jesus arrived. He hollered into the hollow of the tomb, "Lazarus, come out!" Even the dead had to obey his voice. The grave handed over her captive. Lazarus came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

"Who is this man that death bows before him? Could this be the Promised One of God?"

The way the crowds flocked to Jesus frightened the Pharisees, "If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him." So they plotted to get rid of the man (Jesus) and the evidence (Lazarus).

Spring was in the air; Passover was on the horizon; Freedom was the battle cry. The Jewish nation flittered with excitement. Would the one rumored to be Messiah come to Jerusalem for Passover? Would God deliver his people from Roman rule as he delivered them from Egyptian slavery?

Fear wrapped her tendrils around the Jewish leaders, "We will lose our place and our nation." They kept a wary eye open for Jesus, biding their time and waiting for the opportune moment to turn the crowds against him.

Jesus was at a private party with a few of his closest friends in Bethany. Simon the Leper was the host, grateful for company as only one who has long been estranged can. Lazarus was there, breathing anew the air he once took for granted. Martha was there, scuttling about serving food for the meal. The disciples were there, eating and reclining at the table. And Mary was there. Dear, sweet, Mary, sitting at Jesus' feet.

While the others conversed, Mary listened. She wore around her neck a year's worth of wages bottled up in an alabaster jar of perfume. Seeing no greater use for her treasure, she broke the jar and anointed her king. Perfume soaked Jesus' hair, ran down his cheeks, dripped from his beard, and fell to his feet. The room filled with the aroma as Mary knelt down and wiped Jesus' feet with her hair. Such devotion! Such beauty!

It was Judas Iscariot who broke the sacred silence, "What a waste! This was a very expensive jar of perfume! Why wasn't it sold and the money given to the poor?" The other disciples were quick to agree, "Yeah, a year's wages! Think of the food and clothing we could have bought for the poor."

It seemed like the right answer. It was Jesus who had taught them to care so deeply for the poor and the outcast. But in their meticulous pursuit of the practical, they missed the beauty. In their quest for rightness, they missed truth. The amount of perfume was excessive. Unless, of course, you were getting a body ready for burial.

"Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "She has done a beautiful thing. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. This perfume was meant for this day and this purpose. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial."

Jesus had spoken clearly of his imminent death no less than six times. And now, surrounded by the fragrance of death and the holiness of tears, the disciples bark their rebukes. They haven't been listening, but Mary has. Could it be that Mary knew exactly what she was doing?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"He just needed to know his dad loved him."

On Family Sunday (1/30/11), I talked about my heart for the families at Racine. Last night, I ran across this sound recording and decided to share it here.

Family Sunday - Sound Recording

The opening story came from this book. You should read it. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Student of the Week: Ian Gayer

The student of the week is Ian Gayer. In Sunday School this week, Ian offered to wait until everyone else had chosen their three pieces of candy before choosing his. When it came time to pray, he volunteered to pray for Aden in his basketball game. I am so proud of Ian and how he is becoming more of a Christ-like leader every day!
One of my favorite things about Ian is how he flings himself wholeheartedly into whatever he does. As a person who is all too often crippled by fear, there is much for me to learn from his uninhibited resolve.
Last Spring, I took the 2nd-5th grade ice-skating at the Jones Center. As we entered the building, we met a woman with wet hair and a towel draped over her shoulders. Ian looked quizzical for a moment, then spoke, “Huh? She must have fallen through.”
Yet, not even the prospect of breaking through the ice could intimidate Ian. He put on his skates and raced to the rink. Almost as soon as his feet hit the ice they swung out from beneath him and he crashed hard. But he didn’t stay down. With a helping hand, he hopped up and swung his legs as fervently as before. Each time he fell, he winced from the pain, smiled, and got back up. While most kids were clinging to the protection of the walls and carefully creeping forward, Ian was out in the middle of the rink, skating, falling, and rising with vigor. With each crash he did not grow more timid, but more determined.
I am like those who cling to the walls, afraid of a misstep and a fall. But I’m trying to learn to be more like Ian.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Reminder

This was a letter written to our sponsored child, Effa. If I had one prayer for you and me today, it would be this:

So I am closing my eyes
and I'm praying for those in my life
Let us feel, 
Let us love,
Let us be alive
Let us know you

"Let us Know You" by Andrew Osenga

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. when he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

This Sunday, we're studying the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl. In order to experience the joy of finding something of great value, the small groups will follow a map to a hidden treasure. I've been thinking all week what treasure they should seek. Part of my struggle in finding the right item is my uncertainty in how to interpret the parables. What is the item of great worth, and who is the man who gives up everything for it?

Option 1:
Item of great worth = Christ's kingdom (more specifically, Jesus)
The man who sold all he had = us

Option 2:
Item of great worth = Christ's kingdom (more specifically, us)
The man who sold all he had = Jesus

What are your thoughts, dear reader? Should the treasure point them to the infinite worth of knowing Christ and gaining his kingdom? Or should the treasure be a reminder that Christ gave everything he owned to gain us?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Communion - The Body of Christ (Part 3)

Songs, sung; sermon, preached; Scripture, read; prayer, prayed. Soft instrumental music is played and an ambiance of silence is created. It is time for the congregation to partake of the body and blood of our Lord. We grab a morsel of bread and a swig of juice from a tray, then bow our heads to meditate on Christ's body. In silence, we think back to that dark day two thousand years ago when Christ was crucified.

But what if "recognizing the body of the Lord" is more than a contemplation of Christ's physical body? What if it is a recognition of his body, the Church, as well? What if "remembrance" is less a retrospective reflection and more a present participation? What if "proclaiming the Lord's death until he comes" means we echo his self-emptying humility?  How would this change the way we take Communion?

The clearest reference to the Lord's Supper outside the Gospels is found in 1 Corinthians 11. The Corinthian church was a diverse group made up of men and women, rich and poor, strong and weak, Jew and Gentile. This diversity often (sadly) led to division.

The Corinthians argued about church leaders (1 Cor. 1:10-12, 3:1-9), marriage (1 Cor. 7), whether or not to eat food sacrificed to idols (1 Cor. 8, 10:14-33), financial support of missionaries (1 Cor. 9), and spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12, 14:1-25).  Sandwiched in between Paul's specific instructions concerning these divisions is the text about the Lord's Supper.

In the early church, the Lord's Supper was eaten as part of a larger meal sometimes referred to as the love feast. The flexible schedules of rich Christians allowed them to arrive early with an ample supply of food and start eating. By the time the poor, working class arrived, most of the food was gone.

I want to encourage you to reread 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 with this context in mind. Then, I would love for you to come back here and share your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Everyone Cut... - The Body of Christ (Part 2)

Sunday night I watched The Tale of Despereaux on DVD, a story of cowardice and courage, heartache and healing, retribution and forgiveness. After a fatal accident on Soup Day, the Kingdom of Dor mourns. The king grieves, soup is banned, and a thick darkness covers the land. The kingdom turns its hurt into hatred for all rats. Princess Pea turns her pain into sharp words that pierce the servant girl, Miggery Sow. Roscuro sets out to make amends but is met with blind rage and disgust. Grief unites Miggery Sow and Roscuro in a plan to pay back the princess. The kingdom grows ever darker and the king drowns in the song of his sorrow.

The characters were caught in a web of hurt, and the more they fought to free themselves, the more they enslaved themselves.

There have been times when I have found myself tangled in this very web. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, bloody their nose. If someone forces you to walk one mile, make them run two. If you are insulted, humiliate. If you are punished, retaliate. If you are ignored, dissociate. It's a hurting world hurting others. "Everyone cut, cuts back again - and double."

Enter Despereaux Tilling. Despereaux was a mouse who believed a different story - one about courage, chivalry, honor, and love. His nonconformity secured him an exile from Mouseworld. His own father pounded the drum that sent his son to the dungeon of Ratworld. His mother bade him farewell without pleading his innocence or offering to take his place. Talk about hurt.

But, unlike the other characters, Despereaux refused to cut back. With a single act of forgiveness, the web unraveled.

There are forces in this world that are strong; forces like anger, bitterness, hatred, and grief. But there is a power greater still. In its light, shadows scurry. In its might, slave masters succumb. In its sight, strongholds crumble. It is a dressing for open wounds and salve for sorrow. For what force can stand in the face of forgiveness?

Monday, January 17, 2011

How Beautiful - The Body of Christ (Part 1)

How beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sin
And bore it instead.
How beautiful the tender eyes
That chose to forgive
And never despise.
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful
Is the body of Christ

- "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris

As these words filled the gymnasium at the OCC Preaching and Teaching Convention, I looked around and saw the faces of those I knew; people I had worked beside, suffered with, and sweated on. I saw the feet of those I had bruised in an attempt to make myself look taller. I saw ears I'd rung and hearts I'd stung from a subtle slip of my tongue. I saw eyes flooded with tender tears of forgiveness and arms open in welcome.

Why did these thoughts cloud my mind in the middle of a verse so clearly describing Christ's body?

Because when I looked out at these people, it was Christ I saw: his face, his feet, his ears, his eyes, and his arms. His body. For that moment, Christ's physical body and his body, the Church, were not so easily distinguished. As, perhaps, it should always be.

How beautiful, indeed.