Monday, October 18, 2010

Gratitude 9: Communion of Saints

"I believe in... the communion of saints," profess Christians in many worship services for the last two millennia and around the globe.  As I understand it, this phrase refers to Scripture's teaching that all who have believed in Christ (including those who have come before and those who follow after, as well as the present generation), are "one body," "made to drink of one Spirit," and "one in Christ Jesus."  Some key passages would include Jesus' prayer in John 17 and Paul's writings in Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12.

The Bible is clear about this unity of believers, and the doctrine is not so hard for me to accept, but the experience of this mystery over the past week and a half has alternately taken my breath away and knocked the wind clean out of me.  A great blessing of this oneness is the capacity, from my own living room, to participate actively through prayer in Christian work around the world.  Furthermore, a post I hadn't planned to write, shared on a day I hadn't planned to post, can become an arrow in God's hand straight into the need of a friend mere hours before that need came to a crisis.  Because of the oneness of believers, I can taste the sweetness of others' answers to prayers and benefit from other Christians' experiences, however far removed in time and space.

However, oneness with the body of Christ also means I taste the salt of my brothers' and sisters' tears when they lose loved ones or receive word that, yes, the tests showed cancer.  I taste the sour tang of hopes disappointed, again.  I taste the bitterness of anger, strife, and dissension in the household of God.  The whole body suffers in the fracture of a single limb.

Thanks be to God that our Lord Jesus Christ has already tasted the full flavor spectrum of our experiences.  We are His body, after all; He lives the sweet, salt, sour, and bitter with us.  With Him we can do all these things.  It is He who holds us all together for His glory.

On this basis I give thanks today by faith. . .
for at least 3 clear "yes!" answers to prayers for others this week;
for the multitude of other prayers still pending;
for the Spirit's intercession with and for us;
for answers before we even ask;
for God's grace to turn these crumbs into a meal for someone else;
for tears for others to drive away self-pity;
for a Day coming when all true hopes will be fulfilled;
for a remedy for all fractured relationships at the Cross;
for real communion with those who pray for me and for whom I pray;
for Christian fellowship beyond time and space;
and for the clarity and mystery of the creeds.
(God's endless gifts, #1365-1375)

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and the love of God, 
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, 
be with you all" (2 Cor. 13:14).

holy experience


  1. Dear friend, I cannot thank you enough for your sweetness and your encouragement.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.