orphans

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* this post is part of the monthly synchroblog.  january’s topic, in the spirit of the season of epiphany, is the manifestation of God.  check out other bloggers who are writing on the same topic; links are below & i’ll add as more come in.  when i sat down to write about this topic, this is the first thought that came to mind…

“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…”

- teresa of avila

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there are all kinds of orphans.  in a practical sense, some do not have living parents.  in an emotional sense, many do not have living-parents-who-take-good-care-of-them-for-all-kinds-of-reasons.  in a spiritual sense, many have lost their belief in God or church families & the structures they used to fit into.  regardless of how we got there, the realities of being orphaned are extremely painful & traumatic & scary.

i do not for a minute want to lump all orphan-ness into one category.  each have their different nuances and realities.  however, the part that sometimes becomes more clear to me in journeying with people in hard places is just how many orphans there really are. loneliness, disconnectedness, shame, fear, disorientation, self-protection, and survive-at-all-costs-kinds-of-behaviors seem to be really present in many orphans i know.  it’s always interesting in these moments, too, how even though i’m not an orphan in the practical sense, i connect with some of the characteristics & sometimes feel like i am.  i’m guessing some of my family history layered with weird church stuff contributes to it.

loneliness, disconnectedness, shame, fear, disorientation, self-protection, and survive-at-all-costs-kinds-of-behaviors seem to be the kinds of places that are in deep need of God’s spirit and healing touch.  and usually, not always, God’s healing touch doesn’t drop out of the sky directly into every orphan’s heart.  like so many other ways of God, it seems like over and over he uses people to pass it on.

people who somehow are Jesus with skin on.  people who don’t leave.  people who love tangibly.  people who listen.  people who care.  people who include.  people who enfold.  people who adopt.  people who see buried beauty & call it out.  people who help in time of need.  people who are patient.  people who value slow and steady over quick and haphazard.  people who are safe.  people who are present.  people who weep with us, laugh with us.

epiphany is a celebration of the incarnation of God in Jesus.  God-in-the-flesh.  the gospel stories remind us over and over again of the wild & beautiful message that God-in-the-flesh brought–that we are somehow God-in-the-flesh, too.   that we play a part in passing on Christ’s love, mercy, compassion, hope, life, and peace in a world that is distracted by religion, rules, and power.

to me, part of the mission of God in the here and now should be to play whatever small or big part we can to eradicate orphanness–kid orphans & grown-up orphans.

the part we play in this (and the healing we receive through it) is a beautiful, divine, supernatural manifestation of God.

Christ has no body here but ours.

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here are the other participants so far: