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Snapshot: Communion with the Body « International Aid Services America
Communion La Victoria

Recently, Jonathan and I traveled with members of our church in Chicago to visit our sister church in Manta, Ecuador.  We arrived on a Sunday, so we joined the congregation for their worship service.  At the end of service, all who were present formed a large circle stretching the whole of the sanctuary, and the elements of communion were passed around this circle.  Holding the bread and the wine, I scanned the faces in the circle.

“This is my body. . . broken for you.”

This is the body of Christ – faces of different colors, sizes, ethnicities, ages, and shapes – broken together, whole together.  This is the body we belong to, apart from which we do not work.  This is the body of Christ, which spans oceans, nations, cultures and languages, for “because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:17).

Holding the bread and the wine, I began to pray.  I prayed for the people making up that circle, for the people of Ecuador, for the people of South America, for the people of all the Americas, for the people stretching across oceans and continents, for the individual faces I know and those who are not yet known, for myself.  I prayed out of my brokenness for our brokenness and praised Jesus for his redemptive brokenness on the cross.

Later in the week, as we drove around the city with members of the church in Manta, lamenting over the devastation that was left by the catastrophic earthquake that hit in April 2016, I was reminded of what it means to partake of the bread and the wine.  I was reminded of what it means to be in communion with the body of Christ; for while we enter into joy in communion with the Body, we also enter into suffering.

“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12: 26).

This is one of the reasons I believe so deeply in the work of International Aid Services.

IAS is a very real, very tangible example of what it is to be a part of the body of Christ.  When one part of the body is suffering because of drought and malnutrition, the whole body suffers.  When one part of the body gives praise after receiving a long-awaited meal, we rejoice.  When one part of the body cries over the destruction brought by violence and war, we cry.

IAS is a body of many individuals from various cultures and nationalities working together as one to respond to these cries and to rejoice over God’s love and provision across the globe.  It is a body that suffers together, rejoices together, loves together, and communes together.  It is a joy and a privilege to live out the body of Christ with the members, supporters, employees, and beneficiaries of IAS.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).

What does it mean for you to be in communion with the Body?

 

- Hillary Wildt – Director of Mental Health Program Development