Christ Has No Body...


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free
Photo by Amy Conner, World Vision

Photo by Amy Conner, World Vision

On the highest hill in Cochabamba stands the Cristo de la Concordia, the second-largest statue of Jesus in the world.  At 112-feet tall, this steel and concrete “Christ of Peace” towers over the city with arms outstretched, tiny windows dotting his hollow body so that tourist inside can peer out into the world. 

On our last day in Bolivia, we took the narrow, winding road up Sand Pedro Hill to see the statue. (Believe me, Elizabeth Esther and I will NEVER forget that ride!) Craning our necks and squinting our eyes, we stood beneath the statues’ shadow to  try and get a look at Jesus’ face.

I confess I’ve always been a bit weirded out by giant renderings of Jesus.  The radical rabbi from Nazareth spoke so often of humble obedience and quiet service,  pomp and grandeur don’t seem like his style.  And after all we had seen with World Vision in Bolivia that week, this statue of Jesus, though beautiful, seemed so still and so removed from the people below, looming over a city where hunger, abuse, poverty, and despair still hide in shadowy corners. 

I suddenly remembered a favorite poem from St. Teresa of Avila:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

A statue cannot be Christ in this world because a statue cannot be animated by the Holy Spirit. 

But people can. 

And over the past three weeks, I've been lucky enough to catch glimpses of the real hands and feet of Jesus…

...in mothers who fight every day to preserve the dignity of their children,

Photos by Amy Conner and Matthew Paul Turner, World Vision

Photos by Amy Conner and Matthew Paul Turner, World Vision

...in World Vision staff members committed to lifting their communities out of poverty

Photos by Amy Conner and Matthew Paul Turner, World Vision

Photos by Amy Conner and Matthew Paul Turner, World Vision

...in fellow team members who threw all their passion and energy into loving the Bolivian people and telling their stories, 

Photos by Amy Conner and Matthew Paul Turner, World Vision

Photos by Amy Conner and Matthew Paul Turner, World Vision

...in women of valor who beat the odds to provide for their families,

Photos by Amy Conner and Rachel Held Evans, World Vision

Photos by Amy Conner and Rachel Held Evans, World Vision

...in the children who are at the heart of Christ’s kingdom, 

Photos by Amy Conner and Matthew Paul Turner, World Vision

Photos by Amy Conner and Matthew Paul Turner, World Vision

...and in those of you who responded to their stories with actions of your own. 

 So far, the Bolivia trip has generated over 120 child sponsors, and 20 of those came from you. I’m working with World Vision to try and find a way to thank each one of you personally, but for now I can only say with a humble and open heart—God bless you. Yours are the eyes with which Christ looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world. 

So when was the last time you saw the real hands and feet of Jesus?

Transient
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