Once there was a body. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was made of many different parts. There were hands and feet and a heart and a mind and there was love. The body was healthy and whole; many members, one complete being. One time the body was so content that the heart thought it would be ok if it took a short nap and it went to sleep. The mind, right away thought it knew what to do next, and it started giving orders. “Right arm,” it said, ” I don’t think you are pulling your weight around here. It told the right arm to work. It told that arm that if it didn’t work, it wasn’t really a part of the body. So the right arm got to work planting food, pulling weeds. Then the mind thought, “Left arm, I think I should be enjoying some of that hard work the right arm is doing.” So as the harvest came, the left arm would grab the food and feed it to the mouth. This went on for a little while till the right arm complained, “I am tired. I need a rest.” And, “This is not fair”. And the left arm complained, “ I am tired too from only doing one thing. I feel weak and numb.” But the mind did not listen. The right arm kept working and the left arm grabbed even more food for the mouth. Then one day something terrible happened. The right arm broke because it had worked too hard and was not allowed to rest. And the left arm which had only been reduced to one motion was so shriveled and shrunken it didn’t even look like an arm any more. The body’s arms both hurt so badly that the heart finally woke up. What a mess the heart found. The heart cried tears of sorrow and pain that its beautiful body was broken. It said, “Don’t you remember that we are all one body together?” Suddenly the mind realized what it had done. So the heart and the mind decided they needed to help the arms and the whole body heal. They started by listening, so they would best know how to help the body to heal. They listened to the right arm and listened to the left so they could understand what they needed. They asked the right arm and the left arm to listen to one another. When we re-member a broken bone, bring the pieces back together, it hurts, but it’s what needs to happen in order for the bone and the whole body to heal. Our bodies can’t be well if any part of us is broken, the whole body needs to be healed for us to be well. Can we help this body to re-member itself?
When I need to do something that hurts in order to get better, it always helps me to start from a place of love. Today with the body of our church, we may hear some hard things that wake our hearts up to the pain of our own broken places. But we need to listen the best we can if we want to change the brokenness and re-member our larger body back together. We need each other. We belong to each other. So I wonder if we can all get ready to listen. Can we start from a place of love? I’m going to ask our whole church body to help us too. If you don’t want to share a touch with your neighbor, or if you are sitting out of reach, can you put your hand on your own heart? If you want to share a touch of love, can you put your hand on your neighbor’s back. I wonder if we can imagine the hand touching us as the hand of love? Can you feel that love calling you to re-member the story of our belonging? I wonder if we can listen well enough with our hand, our hearts and our minds and our whole selves to hear a beating heart? Can you listen well enough to hear breathing, in and out? I wonder if we really really listen if we can hear the heartbeat of our whole church body today, can you hear us all breathing? I wonder if we listen even more deeply if we can hear the heartbeat of our whole city or state or country? Can you hear us all breathe together? Let’s try to keep this feeling in our hearts and bodies as we try to listen with our whole selves to the story of our broken body. Then let’s try to hold on to each other in love and belonging till we can heal together. May it be so.