The Church is one of my very favorite things about this wild, broken, beautiful faith of mine. I’ve treasured a quote from a theologian I follow on Twitter named Broderick Greer who said, “The Church isn’t ‘cute’ or ‘inspirational.’ It is the living, mangled, and risen Body of Christ.” It is a Body of people—real people with hearts and wounds and favorite colors and preferred sides of the bed. The Church is my family, my home. The Church has saved my life.
One of my most significant instances of this was during one of the darkest seasons of my life. Three years ago I had just moved back to Dallas, TX after spending three months in Costa Rica. I’d come home early from my study abroad program due to my rapidly disintegrating mental health, and was a ghost of a person. I knew that my sanity and stability depended on finding a community of people to support me (along with help from my amazing parents, the right anti-depressant, and lots and lots of therapy). In the midst of my fragility and woundedness, I took a risk and showed up at a women’s small group for a church in my area. I was the youngest there by a few years, and definitely the least stable, but I chose honesty over a façade and told them what I needed: a community. Friends. Love. Support for my long road of healing.
And in the true fashion of the Church, these women showed up for me. They embodied what love looks like by opening their arms and homes—by checking in with me, taking me to coffee, feeding me meals, praying with and for me, and meaning it when they asked, “How are you?”. On one unforgettable night they literally held me as I wept over the waves of trauma that had crashed over me that year. Their hands and prayers held me together.
Those women, the Church, helped walk me back to life in that season. They witnessed my process of healing by continuing to show up for me, week after week, in prayer, worship, and friendship. They shared in my victories and sat with me in my losses. They loved and continue to love me, as they are called to do.
I pray that this example of the Church can be extended to everyone who needs that kind of love. I pray that we are always responsive to those calls—that our eyes and ears could be drawn to those who need love most. It will always be messy—relationships and bodies always are. But my, I am so grateful for the living-ness of it. May we always choose that Life and love that is offered to us in this faith of ours. Amen.