She’s a cunning, calculating woman, and she knows what she wants.
Her will is iron, her voice honey, and her powers of persuasion unsurpassed. “Come, buy,” she purrs, and the masses fall under her spell, intoxicated by her perfume, convinced that all she promises she will deliver.
Her image is everywhere, an artificial perfection emblazoned on billboards, beckoning. It’s an unnatural beauty, purchased from surgeons and stylists, but her lovers can’t see past the mask. They exhaust their time, money, and energy pursuing her, and then they wonder why they always crave more, more, more.
To live in this city is to constantly battle her siren’s song. You want, she whispers, and you should have, and if you listen long enough, you believe her. Your focus turns inward, insatiable appetites awaken, and the more you feed them, the more your soul slowly dies.
But, thanks be to God, there’s a refuge. A place of escape, where the air clears, and the heart revives.
We gather around the bread and the cup, and I glance down the row at these bowed heads, flawed and blemished. I see them real, and I’m surprised by how much I love them. We haven’t lived here long, and I don’t recognize many of these faces, but I sense it deep. We are the church, a purchased people, and our worth is not in what we have or do or what we look like. Ours is an imputed righteousness, a surpassing beauty utterly unattainable, yet granted by grace. We are the blind, the lame, the beggar, now amazed to find ourselves beholding, dancing, and feasting on abundance.
We eat from a common plate and we drink from a common cup, hand passing to hand, and suddenly every voice is silenced but One.
And He sings,
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.”
And I place the morsel of bread in my mouth, molars grinding it slow, and with every crushing motion of my jaw, I hear the words. This is My body. This is My body. This is My body.
I’m bruising Him, and I wish there were another way, but I know there isn’t. Redemption was always the plan, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
I chew, and I swallow grace. I open my eyes, and I see.
This is My body.
These flawed, wounded, redeemed souls. These people I barely know. We are His body, called to this city, and who is going to sing His song to her slain if we don’t? We are His body, in all our broken beauty, and we alone have the bread that satisfies. Will we take off our masks and live real, with hearts and faces open, offering living water and true bread to a world that doesn’t even know it’s starving?
We are His body. And yet, if we choose, we can seat ourselves at her table, fill our mouths with her empty pods. We can buy her worthless goods and try to look like her billboard images. We can spend our labor for that which does not satisfy. But why would we? Our eyes have been opened. We’ve traded her hollow promises for His fullness of joy.
The instruments play, and we all stand, and the young woman beside me sings, clear notes soaring. I blend my low notes with her soaring ones, our voices becoming one with hundreds more, and I imagine the song rising through the rafters, spreading to the right and left, and covering this city’s nakedness with praise.
We are His body. I see us in all our broken imperfection, and I sense it deep.
We are His body. And we are beautiful.
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Joining with Ann today.