We thank God for the life of David Riley, a well respected member of the local farming community. He has been a faithful member of St Peter’s Church, Minshull Vernon, following in the noble tradition of his family who first settled here in 1947. Our thoughts are with Dorothy, his faithful widow who has so lovingly cared for him in his declining health these past 7+ years, his sister Phyllis, and his family.
In the Church’s seasonal calendar we have passed through the full Christian story: the birth in the stable, Jesus’ ministry of preaching teaching and healing, the death on a cross, the Easter story of Resurrection, the setting of Jesus at God’s right hand in glory (The Ascension), the sending of Jesus’ Spirit to be with us (Pentecost or Whit Sunday). There is a rhythm and logic to this sequence, even if some of the details may seem puzzling or mysterious.
So where is Jesus’ Body now? One answer would be: in Heaven. But in a spiritual sense his body is right here. At the Last Supper Jesus took bread and said "This is my body" and Christians down the centuries have recalled those words in each celebration of the Communion or Eucharist, as the bread and wine become his body and blood for believers. In another sense of Jesus’ Body, we are that body! Christian believers are the body! St Paul goes to some lengths to explain that each one of us has a part to play in that Body, as do the various parts of a human body.
So the Christian story is not only about a figure or body from the past, or in an unseen realm. It is about faith in something that is available here and now, and binds us together. Spiritual reality is made visible and tangible. While some people claim to be able to nurture their Christian faith in isolation from others and with minimum participation in Christian worship, that has to be an odd, almost contradictory and self-defeating, thing to try to do. The Christian church is far from perfect. We all know that! But where would our Christian life be without it?