As you read this article, I should be on my way home from Damoh, India. I traveled to India to visit Mid India Christian Mission. The mission is run by the Lall family, which includes the former Angela Allan of Beverly.
If you are familiar with Babe Ruth baseball in Elkins, the Lall's son, Levi, played for Davis Trust Co. last year while the family was in the United States on furlough. The family worships with First Christian when they are in Randolph County.
The mission in India works with a number of churches in the state of Damoh. In recent years, they had engineers come to India and build a large impoundment to hold water from the monsoon rains. Rain in the area comes for just a few short weeks and then basically there is no rain the rest of the year. They are also building housing to accommodate disabled children. In India, children with disabilities are often abandoned.
My desire was to go to India and see how the church in Elkins might be able to assist the mission - particularly with the orphanage. Of course, as you read this, I am not back yet so I do not know how all of this will work out. This is the first time in 42 years of ministry that I have been able to do this kind of thing. It is exciting.
The New Testament refers to the church as the body of Christ. I was particularly reminded of that as I prepared for my trip. I also, in the last few weeks, had the opportunity to visit and preach in another church.
It is amazing that the body of Christ can be halfway around the world in India. It can be in Elkins and elsewhere in West Virginia. Hey, it is everywhere.
Part of the genius of Jesus, when he gave us a memorial, is the fact that he gave us a supper with bread and fruit of the vine. The bread, he told us, was to represent his body, broken for us on the cross.
When we partake, we are to remember his body. That body becomes the church.
Paul tells us that the church is a body made up of many parts. We are one of those parts. But Jesus is the head. If we are a part of the body, then we are a part of Jesus. Now that is also very exciting.
You know he could have used other things to give us a memorial. As an example, look at a seed. It was once alive, but until it is planted and dies, it cannot come back to life and bear fruit. We could use that in many ways to remember Jesus. But it is not what he gave us. He gave us communion and that is what we should follow.
As a side note, I need communion every week. It is the spiritual nourishment that keeps my spirit alive, that keeps me in the body.
Also when we become Christians, we become part of that body. We are told by Paul that when we are baptized into Christ, we are raised to a new life (Romans 6:3-5).
That new life literally is in the body of Christ, the church. Do you get the connection? You should. It is what the church is all about: giving up our life for the body of Jesus.
As Christians, we are all connected together as a part of the body. I am afraid that means we have to love one another. As you know, some of you people are down right contrary. But I have to love you anyway, and I do.
As Christians, we are to support one another, encourage one another, plus all of the other things that we are reminded of in the Bible.
Whether I am preaching in Elkins, in India, or some place else, I am a part of the body. I just love seeing how the body, the church, works. I want to be a part of it. I want to truly live in it, and I hope that you do, too.
(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)