And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” [Matthew 25:40 (NLT)]
Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat [“is truly hidden”]—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden. [From “The Weight of Glory” by C.S. Lewis]
I found an odd synchronicity in my morning’s reading. The verse for the day was Matthew 7:12, the Golden Rule: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” Following that was a story by Christian author and speaker Lysa Terkeurst. She wrote about speaking to a group when a woman walked up on stage, stood next to her, and then leaned into her. Standing before an audience of 6,500 women, unsure of what to do, the author simply put her arm around the woman and continued speaking. The woman later said she needed God and thought if she got close enough to the Christian speaker, she just might feel Him. The third portion of my reading included the above selection from C.S. Lewis’ writings.
Lewis’ words caused me to pause and reflect. We revere the bread and wine when partaking in Holy Communion but do we revere our fellow Christians that much, not just when sharing the elements but whenever we share time with them? The Communion of Saints is not just that sacrament of bread and wine so fundamental to our Christian worship; it is our fellowship with all believers—past, present and future.
When we abide in Christ, His Holy Spirit abides in us and God takes up permanent residence in our bodies. While I know the Holy Spirit lives within me, I hadn’t considered His presence in the person next to me at church or Bible study. When I do to others, do I realize that I am doing so to Christ? When I speak with them, do I speak as I would to Christ? That woman who came and stood next to Lysa Terkeurst recognized Christ within her. Do I recognize Christ in others and draw close to them so to be nearer to Jesus? Do I value fellowship with Christians as much as I do Holy Communion? Do I honor and revere my church family much as I do those holy elements of bread and wine? Do I cherish time with my neighbor as I would with Christ? Do I truly understand that we are united with one another, not just by church membership or our common beliefs and goals, but by the same Spirit that lives within each of us? When I look at the faces of fellow believers, do I see the face of Jesus? More important, when they look at me, who do they see? Would anyone lean into me to come closer to the Lord?