"Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours."
— from Christ Has No Body, Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)
“Like a shepherd you feed your flock,
gathering the lambs and holding them close,
and leading mother ewes with gentleness.”
— Isaiah 40:11, The Inclusive Bible
On a recent, crisp November Sunday morning it took a while for worshippers to settle down from hugs and laughter to begin worship at Jeff Street Baptist Community at Liberty in Louisville, Ky.
Love flowed effortlessly from person to person on this post-Thanksgiving Lord’s Day, and it was clear the Spirit was alive and well. For this visitor to the small, storefront church who was seeking peace in the midst of the world’s chaos, Jeff Street Baptist provided just that, and more.
There was comfort as a Call to Worship by Wendell Berry was read, serenity as the Peace Candle was lit, compassion as joys and concerns were shared aloud, and hope as Healer of Our Every Ill was sung.
This experience, it seems, is the norm at Jeff Street, an Alliance of Baptists’ congregational partner. It is a church where all are invited to make themselves at home — a home that includes worship, a coffee house, a justice ministry, a hospitality program, and much more.
“We are a welcoming and affirming church, to be sure,” Jeff Street’s website says. “A church dedicated to the teachings of Jesus: Good news to the poor. Liberty for the captive. Healing and comfort for the sick. Peace. Justice. Creation. Family. Community. Resurrection. God’s realm come on earth as it is in heaven.”
Jeff Street Baptist Community at Liberty is a living example of what the prophet Isaiah talks about early in chapter 40, this week’s lectionary text. The scripture tells us that, like a shepherd, the Holy One gathers, holds, feeds and leads with gentleness.
It is good to know there is comfort in God’s love and gratifying to experience God’s peace in tangible ways through Jeff Street and various other Alliance partners. Each one is working diligently, in their own unique way, to be the hands and feet of Christ.
We, at the Alliance of Baptists, pledge to continue supporting Jeff Street and all our partners as they nurture and care for community. And, especially in this Advent Season, we encourage you to do the same. By making a gift (www.allianceofbaptists.org/give) to the Alliance, you’re supporting the work of our partners, ensuring that each person they encounter feels just as comforted as I was on that wonderfully encouraging November Sunday morn.
Grace, peace and thanks!
Alliance communications specialist