Christ Beside You, Christ Before You...
Today's daily lectionary reading comes to us from 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, which reads:
1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.In this passage, the Apostle Paul reminds the early Christians in Corinth about the story of Exodus---when the Hebrew people fled Egypt and 400 years of slavery.
The journey from slavery to promise was one that was fraught with all kinds of peril, and time after time God intervened miraculously to rescue and redeem them.
There is a moment during their time in the wilderness when the Hebrew people found themselves out of water, and literally dying of thirst. In dramatic fashion, God brings water out of a rock to provide for them.
Paul looks back at this story and sees the signs and symbols of Christ all over it. He sees signs of baptism, and of the Eucharist, and of the Living Water that Jesus promised.
Jesus embodied the eternal Christ, plainly making known God's plans to save the world. But according to Paul, Christ was at work in the world since the beginning of time.
In other words, Paul sees evidence of the eternal and universal Christ long before the arrival of Jesus. Whether the Hebrew people knew it or not, Christ was present in their journey, just as Christ is present in every journey.
Right now, it might be hard for us to see Christ at work in the world. We are fearful, and becoming more isolated from one another. The news seems to grow worse every day. We are in the wilderness.
But we should take heart that we are not alone in this wilderness. Jesus, who is the Christ, the Logos, the Blueprint for all things, the Messiah, Redeemer, and God with us... is present in the midst of this.
So look for signs of life and moments of resurrection. Look for sacramental moments where you can be reminded of the beauty of your baptism, and the longing that we all have to break bread and share the cup together.
Because Jesus is there. With us. Always.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.