26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
1 Corinthians 12:26-27, NRSV
It’s more than a longing; it’s a craving. In this season of coronavirus, I’m craving words that inspire, words that instill hope, words that make sense of struggle and suffering. I find those words, reliably, in scripture. Yet I am delighted when I find them in other places, too.
This week, I found them in the writings of Amanda Gorman, our nation’s first youth poet laureate. In a recent poem entitled “The Miracle of Morning” — a work arising from the experience of COVID-19 — she writes:
- We ignite not in the light, but in lack thereof,
- For it is in loss that we truly learn to love.
- In this chaos, we will discover clarity.
- In suffering, we must find solidarity.
In suffering, we must find solidarity.
Her words echo the sentiment captured by the apostle Paul, in a letter he wrote twenty centuries ago to followers of Christ in the city of Corinth. He sought to remind them of their connections in Christ, their shared experiences and triumphs and sorrows, their utter tethered-ness as members of Christ’s own body. “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it,” he wrote (1 Corinthians 12:26, NRSV). In other words? In suffering, we must find solidarity.
Solidarity. Unity. Mutual support. Community.
We may think coronavirus has robbed us of community, but this is not so. It has, temporarily, robbed us of the opportunity to gather in person together… but “community” is deeper than that. Our utter tethered-ness is deeper than that… deep at a level that social distancing can’t touch.
Now is the time to remind ourselves of that. Now is the time to tend to those tethers, to express community and connection in some meaningful way. I urge you, church, to find a way this very day to connect with another person in our community of faith. Write a note, or make a call, or send a text, or offer a gift. Do so with some distance, of course… but do so today. Find some way to celebrate your utter tethered-ness and strengthen this body of Christ. In the midst of all of the struggles we experience in the face of coronavirus, struggles that are unique and struggles that are shared, it’s critical that we remember we do not struggle or suffer alone. We do so as tethered members of the body of Christ. We do so in community, in solidarity.
You can read the rest of Gorman’s poem here… or better yet, watch as she presents it herself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuA0mF27raI
And as you do, may you remember:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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