I have a friend who plays the guitar and leads worship in his local church. He would claim to be an agnostic and I would say he is on a journey to becoming a believer. He leads because he was asked and he thinks Jesus was a ‘good guy’ who had some great teachings. I’ve known my friend for years prior to this latest step in his faith journey and I find it a bit odd and wonderful at the same time when he asks about new worship songs.
He called a few months ago looking for songs that tell us how to live in the world. My friend expressed frustration that there were tons of songs on what we believe, who God is and yet so few on our actions in the world. As I thought through the songs in our playbook, I too became a bit sad. And then I remembered If We are the Body – a solid theological song with an emphasis on our actions to bring about the Kingdom of God here and now.
This song is perfect for Communion Sundays, reminding us of the meaning of the sacrament and its role in our lives beyond the table. “Jesus payed much too high a price … and we are the body of Christ.”
In so many of our churches we have created an image of what a Christian should look like. Evangelicals and mainline protestants succumb to the notion that to follow Jesus means to look like a middle class American family with a picket fence who ‘does the right thing.’ And yet this song challenges those notions and reminds us that Christ died for all and our role as believers is to welcome everyone. The verse alludes to how easy it is for each of us to judge the other. And when we sing collectively, “For us to pick and choose who should come,” hopefully will be a very real reminder that our job is to invite and welcome and God’s role is to judge.
It’s crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girl’s teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know
But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road
Jesus payed much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ
Jesus is the way