The body of Christ
Sally, Jerry, and Maggie are on the sidewalk sleeping. It’s 10 p.m. and a beautiful, quiet night. They tell us things have calmed down since the meth users have left. Jerry is partially deaf from serving in the military. Multiple tours of duty overseas have left their mark. He can read lips and tells me how he escaped from prison eight years ago. I smile, knowing he is full of beans. It’s fun to indulge him, so I do. “Oh, wow, you really just walked out of prison—what an adventure!” As we talk, he is thrown into a violent seizure. His friends explain his history with epilepsy, and care for him by laying their bodies under him so he doesn’t get hurt. After five minutes, his seizure stops, and he’s worn out. I share how my son had epilepsy and Jerry’s face brightens. “Get your son a service dog.” “I did.” “What kind?” “Australian Shepherd.” Yay for dogs! Jerry puts on a bike helmet and we all fall silent. He tells us that if he hits his head again it will be fatal. It is so quiet you can hear the cockroaches tromping up the sidewalk. I begin to nod in affirmative comfort when Jerry bursts out laughing, “I’m kidding, you need to laugh; you all need to lighten up!” I howl and then he shushes me with his finger over his mouth.
I talk with Maggie who is drinking a beer, and has been clean from crack for eighteen months. She tells me she quit when she got married. Maggie asks for prayer. My coworker lays hands on Jerry’s head. We all bow our heads. Friends from the street come by on their bikes and say hi. With handshakes and hugs, I am welcomed and introduced! Nice to meet you too. You can’t survive without the healing power of community and relationships. Oh, the body of Christ. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12, ESV)