In the Flesh

cross-posting with Facebook, because I’ll want to know where this is some day, and Facebook will have swallowed it up.

Everything Happens Podcast by Kate Bowler

I just finished the second episode, with Dr. Ray Barfield, this morning on the way to work.

In the last 10 minutes of the ‘cast (is that something people say?), their conversation hits on the soul of ministry — not just for priests or nurses or doctors or do-gooders, but for EVERY HUMAN BEING IN THE WORLD — that is to be present, to show up, for one another. Kate talks about how Ray has shown up for her, and Ray talks about how he has found he has to show up for his patients and friends. Difficult conversations don’t work via text or email, he says, he’s got to, at the very least, talk on the phone, hear the person’s voice, and even better, to sit on the couch or at the table with them. This is because, he says, he needs to hear “the blood in their voice,” to know when they start to get sad.

Sending an email is nice, writing a card is kind, but sitting at the bedside of a dying person, holding their hand, is something else entirely.

Sitting in front of a friend to ask forgiveness is a completely different experience than sending a text.

Ray talks about how he doesn’t always know what to say, but always trusts — and has found to be true — that whatever needs to be said will come to him in the moment.

My friends, that’s Jesus. Jesus comes to us in flesh and blood, not just in words and written poems or stories. It is in the physical and particular moment when we open ourselves to God in Jesus that we are made new, healed, we commune with the divine.

Why not try it out yourself, what have you got to lose? Come to church sometime this Lent, maybe even today, to the Ash Wednesday service (St A’s at noon and 7pm), and see what happens if you show up for the flesh and blood and presence of God. 

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