“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.”
St. Theresa of Avila
Easter Monday is always a bit of a conundrum for anyone struggling with just about anything, really.
After the solemnity of Lent and Holy Week and Good Friday builds to the triumph of Easter Sunday, after we sing the victorious songs and shout out, “He is risen indeed,” the sun rises on Easter Monday.
And those of us who struggle generally find that we are still struggling with whatever we were struggling with before all of the Easter hoopla.
Our depression still weighs us down.
Our anxiety has not abated.
Our abusive husband still abuses.
Our teenager is still self-harming.
Our narcissistic parents are still narcissistic.
Our boundaries still waver, and our colleagues still demand more than one human being can possibly deliver.
We thrilled to hear the words “It is finished”—but is it, really?
It doesn’t seem so.
Someone shared that Theresa of Avila quote with me on Easter Monday, and it was an “aha” moment for me, as I asked myself:
How much of our dissatisfaction with the Easter Monday state of life is because we’ve gotten so wrapped up in the idea of Jesus saving us for eternity that we’ve failed to be the Body of Christ on earth, here and now?
The word that’s translated “savior” in Koine Greek is “soter.” By far the most common meaning of “soter” in the Koine is “healer.” And yet, how rarely do we think of Jesus as our healer? We put all of the “soter” power out there on some distant day after we die, never accessing the today-power of soul-deep healing that is ours today.
We don’t consider how the Kingdom of God might come into our lives, today, with the peace and blessing of good boundaries, good sleep, healthy relationships, a reasonable work-life balance, decent self-care.
We “accept” Jesus as our savior for eternity, while rejecting him as our healer today.
When we do this, we strip Easter of its meaning, its power, its scope, its potential for creating Shalom in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.
We end up with a Body of Christ that’s stunted and limping–and having refused healing for itself, offers a limited gospel of hope to the world.
What would our lives be like, collectively, if we met ourselves and one another with compassion and goodness and blessing, as if we were indeed the Body of Christ?
I don’t know if we could make all the horrors of the world cease, but I believe that our capacity to withstand the disasters of this world would be improved if we experienced that we were loved and safe and chosen, even in the darkest hours of our lives.
I believe this because I’ve experienced it for myself, and I believe this because my work as a therapist allows me to participate in the Body of Christ in this way, and I believe this because I know that we are all capable of being open to Love, vulnerable with one another, and a force for healing in the world.
In order to get there, though, we’ve got to step beyond the simple idea of a savior for eternity, and open our hearts to a healer for today.
I suspect that when we fail to be the Body of Christ for others, we tend to recognize that failure, feel guilty, and try harder next time.
What we don’t often recognize is our failure to be the Body of Christ to ourselves.
We don’t allow compassion and blessing to flow into our own lives.
We don’t receive the goodness and mercy that God has for us.
We deflect, we deny, we push it away in some misguided attempt to make sure that others are taken care of first, and ourselves last or perhaps never, as if there is some shortage in God’s provision.
If we want to be the Body of Christ, a healing power in the world today, we’ve got to allow the healing to come to us as well as everyone else.
There is no shortage, on our Easter Mondays, simply an endless supply we have yet to receive, and an open invitation:
Christ is risen to be our savior and our healer,
to inhabit our bodies and to make them One Body,
his own hands and feet and heart of compassion,
including ourselves and others,
all beloved, all safe, all chosen,
healed and healing, both as One.