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How Beautiful

Church in Action

A song by Christian recording artist Twila Paris talks about the beautiful way Jesus demonstrated love to others while he was in this world. His love was more than warm sentiments. It was an embodied love – a love that expressed God’s compassion through physical actions. His hands served people food. His feet traveled to their homes and villages. His eyes looked upon sinners with joy and acceptance. With his body Jesus demonstrated love to others. The song is titled “How Beautiful”.

After describing the beauty of Christ’s physical body on earth, the song describes the beauty of Christ’s communal body on earth – his Church. When Christians “live just as he died” – when, like our Savior, we serve others around us through physical expressions of love – the Church is beautiful, too. As the song says, “How beautiful is the body of Christ.”

This song came to my mind the other day as I was reading through an email chain initiated by Andrea Mungo, the director of our Diaconate. She sent out an email to members of our church who had volunteered to help needy families in conjunction with a ministry called Safe Families for Children. The email chain went something like this:

Hi SFFC Team! Our family who lives in a shelter out near JFK with twins and a 3 y.o. has the following needs. She is finding living in the shelter to be even more of a challenge during this COVID Pandemic. If you are able to help with any of these items, please let me know. We will use the mercy fund for any items left unpurchased.

The email then listed a long assortment of items the family needed: face masks, a gift card for ordering meals, baby food of various kinds. Church members were asked to order the items online and have them shipped to Diaconate member Heidi Kaufmann, who will deliver them to the family.

Before long, answers to the email began to roll in:

Email 1: We ordered the first three items on the baby food list.

Email 2: We can order items 4-6.

Email 3: I have a friend in Brooklyn that has transformed his trouser company into a face mask and hospital gown making company. When you purchase a box of 5, he will donate a box to medical workers. I'd love to purchase a box of these reusable/washable masks for this family. Would that work?

Email 4: YES! Thank you! Do they make child size mask? What an amazing story!

Email 5: The masks are one-size-fits all and work for children too! I ordered a box and had it shipped.

Email 6: I purchased baby food items 7 and 8.

Email 7: Hi all, I will purchase items 9 and 10 on the list.

Email 8: Just sent a Doordash giftcard :D Go Team!

Email 9: (From Andrea) Wow, all needs are met! God's ACC team is amazing! Thank you thank you!!

Email 10: (From Heidi) Thank you all! Mom texted to say she has received the gift card and is very thankful. I look forward to getting all these deliveries and dropping off all these items for her!

As I read these emails, tears came to my eyes and I heard Twila Paris’s lovely voice singing in my head: “How beautiful. How beautiful. How beautiful is the body of Christ.” I am so privileged to be part of a church where the beauty of Christ’s love for us moves us to love others in beautiful ways, too.

Here are the words to Twila Paris’ song:

How beautiful the hands that served
The wine and the bread and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful the feet that walked
The long dusty roads and the hill to the cross.
How beautiful, how beautiful
How beautiful is the body of Christ.
How beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sin and bore it instead.
How beautiful the tender eyes
That chose to forgive and never despise.
How beautiful, how beautiful
How beautiful is the body of Christ.
And as He laid down His life
We offer this sacrifice
That we will live just as he died:
Willing to pay the price, willing to pay the price.
How beautiful the radiant Bride
Who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes.
How beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so that others may live

How beautiful, How beautiful

How beautiful is the body of Christ

How beautiful the feet that bring

The sound of good news and the love of the King

How beautiful the hands that serve

The wine and the bread and the sons of the earth

How beautiful, how beautiful

How beautiful is the body of Christ.

How beautiful, indeed!