Among all the posts that have come through on the internet was one that was about a parent and child remembering the time being locked in "back in 2020". The mom asks, "What do you remember?" The child answers that he remembered being together as a family, having meals together, reading books together, playing board games together, and so on -- and then says it was the best time ever.
It is fascinating to see the posts of parents teaching their children, finding activities for them, cooking together. and so on. I come home and there is a racket, from grandkids on the other end of the iPad screen reading a book with their grandmother, and not being able to sit still so all the shuffling and wiggling up close to the microphone is echoing through the house -- and I can't help but think, "This is good. This is how things should be more often." Warm bodies.
I hear someone talking about, "What are we going to do for haircuts?" As a family they will do for each other. Warm bodies.
We are trying to keep in touch with each other in a lot of different ways. Sometimes, a little more often, we are choosing phone calls instead of texting. Warm bodies, even if it is only the voice of a warm body.
I have been out to cemeteries twice this week. People linger. Even if we keep the 6 foot distance, and even if it has started to rain we want to see each other and speak to each other. Warm bodies.
Several times through the years we have had a choice to make for our Vacation Bible School. Should we use the prerecorded music with the singers on a video screen, or should we do the music ourselves. We watched the children as we tried one way and then the other. With the video they watched, and were quite happy. When we turned off the video they joined in, singing, dancing and doing the motions along with the leaders. Warm bodies.
This is one of the most wonderful parts of our Christian faith. God did not stay up in heaven. He did not send a text. And Christianity is not a set of propositions and theories. Christianity is a "warm body" religion.
This is unique, where God actually comes into our world to become one of us. He laid in a manger, was tempted in the wilderness, hungered and thirsted. Jesus was there in the water with John the Baptist, in the Synagogue with the man with a withered hand, and out in a lonely place with a crowd of 5,000 hungry men plus women and children and fed them. Later that night after He invited Peter to come walking on the water with Him and after Peter looked around and began to sink, what did Jesus do? He "reached out His hand and took hold of him". (Matthew 14:31-32) Warm bodies.
Jesus touched the blind man, took the little children in His arms, and invited Thomas to poke a finger into the marks of the nails. On Easter morning and evening Christianity became the ultimate "warm body" religion. The Apostle John, who was leaning up against Jesus at the Lord's Supper (John 13:25), said "what we have seen with our eyes ... and touched with our hands" (1 John 1:1), and then there was the ear of the servant of the high priest, that Jesus healed. (Luke 22:51) Warm bodies.
This was not just God taking a body. He was not untouched by our human condition. Jesus needed to spend time in prayer. He is able "to sympathize with our weaknesses," and was "tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) And the ultimate -- He knows what it is like to be weighed down by sin and stand before God. And it was not His own, it was mine; so He knows what it is like to have my particular sins.
When we come to Him we are coming to a Friend who knows our need, and understands what it is to walk by faith. By being one of us Jesus has turned prayer into a "warm body" experience -- and that is amazing.
So, reach out to one another. Phone and talk. Assure one another that we are together in this. We have been bound together in Jesus and are not alone. And reach out to those who are not part of the body of Christ. Make them less alone in these times.
Lord Jesus, thank you for being with me. Thank you for being my brother, my fellow human being. Thank for knowing my weaknesses and for caring. Thank you for knowing what it is to have to walk by faith and not see. And thank you for hearing all my prayers that don't seem very well sorted out at all. Thank you that for all time You will always be that "warm body" God that I can come to. Amen.
Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.