“Sometimes, when I get tired of campus, I go and sit with a homeless woman who lives down on State Street. I buy her coffee and keep her company until I’m ready to come back.”

Liz from Indiana looked earnestly at me as I blinked and smiled. She’s short, wears big glasses, and has fiery red hair with a cute scarf around her neck, but you would never guess that she grew up in rough inner-Indy, knows poverty well, and feels more at home on the South Side than on our chirpy, middle-class Bible school campus. For her, this is culture shock.

I find it fascinating.

Despite our backstories and contexts, Christ has brought us into the Kingdom of Light (Col. 1:13). Christ has redeemed us all. Christ lives in us.

I find it fascinating.

Despite our mixed bags of past and present, Jesus has strangely united us. This bizarre concoction that is the Body of Christ continues to astound me — we know the same Lord, and yet we relate to him so differently. We have different gifts, and goals, and passions, and areas of expertise. We function together, and yet don’t resemble one another in the slightest. We carry different burdens of pain, but because God lives in us, we are able to minister to one another in the darkness of this world. Life is a pilgrimage, not a journey, for we are heading toward our eternal home and Father.

This past week, I’ve been able to see how this comes together. Several friends are dealing with some rough stuff — disappointments, breakups, unknown futures, insecurity, despair — and our Lord has placed me in the right position to comfort. This is the beauty of the Body of Christ: we are not alone, for there are other pieces to this puzzle.

As Paul encouraged our brothers and sisters long ago, “In

[Christ] the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

He is working! He is building us up in him and in one another! That is why Liz and I can look at each other across the dinner table in harmony and encouragement, because we are both sisters in an unusual but blessed, blessed institution called the Church.

I can see it, and it’s an amazing thing to watch.