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.