CORPUS CHRISTI AND A FUNERAL
I don’t know what you made of George Floyd’s Funeral Service last week. For me, the Liturgy was rather foreign to my sensitive and shy religious nature. It was a Gospel Extravaganza, a raw display of open faith displaying a relaxed familiarity with Christ. The screaming, hurting, angry, “Body of Christ” was almost pulsating in the crowd. Corpus Christi definitely wasn’t being put away in a Tabernacle to be admired and adored. The Blessing wasn’t paraded in a Monstrance but rather shown off in a very public way. I can’t say I felt comfortable with all the ‘Amens’ and the ‘sharing of love’. And yet, I couldn’t help feeling that this was what the Body of Christ is supposed to be about.
The Service did, however, make me think about the Body of Christ, by which I mean the People of God, the community of believers, those who still follow Jesus. Here was a community whose members were supporting one another in a difficult time and who, through their liturgy, were drawing strength and confidence from their Lord and Master and each other in a most natural and easy manner. Their Liturgy showed just how important their faith in Jesus was in their lives.
I often think that one reason why we keep going back to Jesus is that we desperately want to believe that somewhere in what he said and did lies the key to a life that offers hope and meaning. And we are desperately in need of hope and meaning in these difficult times. If only we would accept his lifestyle and try to live it out in an honest and sincere way, how different our world would be. We would be attentive to each other, using the gifts we are to each other. We would become the “Body of Christ” for our world. And what a gift that would be!
The Church, the most visible expression of the Body of Christ, is not just another organisation. It is a movement, a community of believers, a fellowship of those who follow Jesus and seek to imitate him just like his first followers did. I love the earliest recorded reference to those first followers by the Jewish Roman historian Flavius Josephus, writing around the same time that the Gospels were taking form. He described them simply as “those that loved him at the first and did not let go of their affection for him”. What a beautiful description of the Church, Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ!
Strange how a Funeral Service can prompt such musings!