get me to the church on time
Leading up to Advent, I have been meditating on how exactly God is with us.
We know as believers (in a spiritual and also perhaps logical sense) that God is with us in all things, and yet you can find yourself asking "why can't You physically be here with me?" (I feel like a small and petulant child admitting this, but it happens.)
God walked in the garden with (or near) Adam and Eve. The Holy Spirit and a pre-incarnate Christ appear repeatedly to individuals and groups throughout the Old Testament. Jesus' biological family lived with Him physically, as did the disciples. And we get to look forward to a time when once again we can enjoy this - when we won't just be touching the hem of His garment, not just able to approach the throne in prayer, but to be present in body with Him!
But what about here and now?
What about when knowing that He's with us isn't enough?
Where has He promised to be?
He's in word and sacrament - okay.
So I can go to church and confess my sins and be absolved of them, Christ speaking His words through the called and ordained pastor. I can also hear these same words from faithful Christian friends, and yes, you can speak them to yourself. (But there is a comfort in hearing them from someone outside of your own head, someone impartial to your own internal noise.)
I can go to church and receive Christ's body and blood in the Supper, a physical partaking of a physical body and blood, and yet a temporary Supper, a foretaste of the great wedding feast to come.
I can be reminded of my baptism, which joins me to the body of Christ, every time I cross myself. And we are Christ's body, Christ's body is us. We take His body in the Supper, and then we ARE that body to each other. It blows my mind. What a fearful responsibility we bear towards each other - that we are the earthly representatives of Christ, not only to the world at large, but that we are literally to be Christ's hands, feet, arms, legs, that we are to mirror Christ to our fellow believers. The Imago Dei - we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made.
At this time, I cannot sit and speak with and touch the living Christ the way the disciples could have. But I can (and must) hear His words, partake in His body and blood, and spend time with the other members of the body. We are not left without provision - and so we wait.