A Word from Canon Leighton
in the October 22, 2017, Adventurer
When I’m at our annual family reunion on Cape Cod, the inevitable moment arises when I forget the name of one of my distant cousins. I sidle up to my mother and ask her under my breath to supply the missing name, confident in her infallible memory.
Later, when we are back at our family cabin after the clambake, I’ll refer to the giant framed family tree so that I can remember which branch of the family the person came from, how old they are, and exactly how we are related. I might not feel as close to this random cousin as I do to my own siblings, but there is an invisible bond between us that cannot be severed. Though the family tree has spread exponentially over the years, we are still bound by the fact that we are descended from the same two people who got married in the 1880s. This invisible bond creates a sense of community, even though we might not share anything else in common.
I feel the same way about church. As the body of Christ, there is an invisible bond binding us to one another. Because we are united with Christ through faith in him, we are united with each other as well.
Sometimes we feel lonely. We feel disconnected from the unfamiliar faces we see at church, or we long to have more time to spend with those that we do know. The past event of Jesus’ death and resurrection binds us to him and with each other. And our future will be shared together, as the body of Christ, worshipping him eternally. This means that we’ll have all the time in the world to get to know those we barely know now. This also means that we’ll have all eternity to catch up with those we love deeply but miss seeing.
So, in the present, in those brief moments when we have a break from the business and weariness of life, we can take joy in spending time together as a church, with people we know and love, as well as with people we don’t really know yet. Those moments of celebration and rest here in the present are a foretaste of heaven, a glimmer of the full joy yet to come.