We not I
Reading: Genesis 44.1-17
Rowan Williams, in Tokens of Trust, stated that the slogan of the Church’s life is ‘not without the other; no I without a you, no I without a we.’ We are a unique community, sharing the Body of Christ as the Body of Christ. When one of our members suffer, we share their pain. When one of us grows, we all flourish. When one feels joy, we all rejoice.
In today’s well known reading from Genesis 44, Joseph orders his silver cup placed in his youngest brother’s sack of food as a test. The other brothers refuse to return to Jacob unless Benjamin goes with them. They will not leave him – they act as a body of brothers.
How can a body function when its physical parts are separated? A body is meant to be together. Imagine the pain of missing one of the parts of your body. You couldn’t function properly – or it would take you a long time to learn how to manage. The Church is the Body of Christ on earth. How are we functioning as a scattered Body? While being together physically restores and nurtures our faith, it is not the only way in which we can be together. Being separated physically does not mean we are separated spiritually. We can be together in these ways:
We can pray for each other. Think of the words of the Lord’s Prayer, which begins ‘Our Father’. While we may be isolated, our prayers are not. They rise together.
We can serve each other, whether by calling each other on the telephone, walking together, talking together online. Serving each other shouldn’t just be something we do at church. It is something we do together as a Body.
We can read together. Meditate on God’s word. Pray over it. Write it on our hearts. Paul, when he was often apart from his churches, wrote to them assuring them of his prayers and begging for theirs.
This time of physical separation is an opportunity for us to show God’s love for us as his Body. Through these acts of prayer, service and spending time in the Scriptures we can find communion with God and with each other.
A prayer of Paul:
We thank God for you, brothers, because your faith is growing and the love you have for each other is increasing. We boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.’ Amen.