Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ's compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.
--Teresa of Avila
This morning in my sermon I explored the question: What would John the Baptist say to us today? In the Gospel lesson appointed for this, the Third Sunday of Advent, John begins "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance!" Not exactly a Hallmark or Christmas special moment! John is speaking plainly, even brutally, and no one has any doubts about what he means. In fact, several different groups of people ask him "What then should we do?"
So, what then should we do? Given the fact that we are approaching the season of the Incarnation, perhaps thinking and praying about how and where God might be calling us to live out our faith more tangibly would be an excellent start. Then, of course, we actually need to do what we believe God has called us to do. As Teresa of Avila says above, we are the hands and feet of Christ in the world. If we don't do it, who will?
As I think about what it exactly means to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world, a few ideas come to mind. John the baptist addresses everyone when he says "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." Clearly, then, the responsibility to share what we have with those who have less than we do applies no matter who we are. I'm even thinking about my family's closets and how many coats we actually have. How many people do not even have one? Something to think about, especially in the dead of winter!
Beyond giving to the economically needy (remembering that we are all needy, just in different ways), the ways of being Christ's hands and feet in the world would seem to be as diverse as the gifts and talents that God gives us. Someone with a talent for construction, for instance, might well volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, or even labor unseen to help another nonprofit renovate their office or help a needy neighbor with a long-deferred home maintenance project. For me, of course, as a priest, my job is my ministry--visiting the home-bound with communion, planning and leading worship, and even the innumerable administrative tasks that threaten to take over the day. Even typing on the computer like I am doing now can be a Jesus thing.
What is God calling you to do in the world in Christ's name?