You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
— 1 Corinthians 12:27

Since he ascended to heaven, Jesus Christ is no longer with us on earth in the flesh. But the incarnation continues. Jesus is still human, and in his human body he is in heaven. But that’s not all. Jesus is still living and active here on the earth in ­human form, because the church is his body on earth. (The church is not a building but is made up of all of us humans who believe in him.)
The Holy Spirit over­shadowed Mary so that Jesus was conceived in her womb. The same Spirit filled Jesus at his baptism. The same Spirit was poured out on Jesus’ disciples on Pentecost. And the same Spirit lives in us, the church, to this day.
Jesus breathed the Spirit onto his disciples, saying, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” The church is sent, like Jesus, to announce and embody the kingdom of God.
So the church speaks the truth in love—the truth about sin, judgment, and forgiveness. But that’s not all. The church also comes alongside people: to suffer with those who suffer, to weep with those who weep, to rejoice with those who rejoice, to visit those who are sick or in prison, to feed those who are hungry.
When the church is faithful to its calling, Jesus himself becomes visible in our humanity. So the incarnation continues on earth until Jesus returns.

Jesus, fill the church with your Spirit so that to­gether we will reflect the kingdom of God. And may all praise be to you, with the Father and the Spirit. Amen!

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