Being the Visible Face of Christ
Not merely by the words you say,
Not only in the deeds confessed
But in the most unconscious way
Is Christ expressed.
Is it a beatific smile?
A holy light upon your brow?
Oh, no—I felt His presence while
You laughed just now.
For me twas not the truth you taught,
To you so clear, to me still dim,
But when you came to me you brought
A sense of Him.
And from your eyes He beckons me
And from your heart His love is shed,
Till I lose sight of you, and see
The Christ instead.
Trust the journey!
By Pat Hammond
The past five months have been difficult for me and my family. You all know that. Beginning with the sudden death of my younger brother, then cleaning out and selling our childhood home without our mother’s knowing because dementia is taking her away from us. And then finally my thymoma, a baseball-sized tumor discovered and removed from behind my sternum. Yes, I have had better summers. And then again . . .
As I reflect upon the past months, I see God at work even in the depths of pain, both physical and emotional. I see God at work teaching me humility, and grace, and patience, and enormous gratitude. I see God at work reminding me again and again and again that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we do not walk alone; we are never alone. God is with us.
I said it before and I will say it again, I don’t believe for one minute that God gave me any of this bad stuff. I believe that sometimes life happens. And sometimes things happen to these wonderfully and mysteriously created bodies of ours. But God is with us, through it all.
There is no place you will ever be, that God is not already there.
And then the most amazing thing happened. You became the visible face of Christ to me. With every card, every note of sympathy and encouragement, every text message and email, every phone call – Christ became visible through you and your actions. You helped me make decisions when I was overwhelmed, you lifted me up when I was beat down, and you took care of my family when I could not. This is what it means to be the visible face of Christ.
Perhaps this poem (on left) by Beatrice Clelland expresses it best.
Pat is the Associate Pastor for Congregational Care at First Presbyterian Church of Sioux Falls. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.