OK, yesterday I was thinking about Rick and the body of Christ and what came to my mind was that if I had to put him as a specific body part, I’d say core.
As children, we were told "lift with your legs." In tennis I learned "use my legs." As an adult I learned that using your legs and proper posture prevents back injuries.
I learned the reverse when my daughter and I carried Margaret’s sewing machine cabinet out of her house, with the old sewing machine in it. She is on the down end and I am at the top of the 2 steps leaning forward and trying to step down....there is no place to bend my knees to center myself under the weight, but I don't think about that because we are already moving. BOING. there goes that sprongy electric shock feeling in the lower back. Uh oh.. Ow ow ow. I try to continue but..... I can’t remember..... did Margaret's daughter carry it the rest of the way? The next few days I was immobile, getting in and out of bed to inch my way into the bathroom ever so slowly and with every attempt to roll over in bed, a reminder from the back NO! Not like that! Pain, that is.
So hopefully I learned. Experience is a better teacher than words.
But CORE. That word became popular when Pilates became the new exercise craze. My daughter-in-law liked her Pilates class. I tried it once or twice and liked it OK, though I preferred the dancing around aerobic tapes. Anyway the teacher kept talking about the core. As in: strengthen this first and foremost. OK so the legs are not your center physically, your abs are. hmmmm
Now then, Rick. No flashy charismatic gifts. Not a great speaker, not a GQ type, not a life of the party, not a brilliant mind. He thought he didn’t have any significant gifts, that he wasn’t really good - better than those around him - in any one thing. He felt less important because he lacked expertise in one area where he could shine above others. Don't most of us want to excel at something?
I would say to him, you have the gift of personal evangelism. You have a gift a lot of Christians would like to have; you present the gospel to people and they come to faith. I don’t know how he felt about my words, but It did NOT make him go: "yeah, you’re right, dear wife, now I feel on top of the world, Praise the Lord."
He was not a hand with intricate ability, nor an eye, to see what other people didn't see. He wasn’t a brain to think up stuff. But he was strong, both physically and mentally, tenacious and faithful to God.
So I see him as a core, or part of Christ's core perhaps a fiber in the big abdomen muscle, or a cell in the fiber.... No one focuses the core when they greet a person. Maybe they felt the heaviness of the approaching footsteps. They look at the eyes, the face, maybe glance at the whole body. They hear the voice and smell breath or soap or perfume. They feel a handshake or a hug, or kiss the cheeks. But they don’t NOTICE the core.
Yet what if it weren’t there? There would be no person. No core, no body.
Rick was solid, plodding, steady. "Faithful," I said and that is the word that best describes him. It is on his grave marker. Faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.
His place in the body of Christ was not highly visible, but it is absolutely a must have. God could see this when he gave gifts to the body of Christ, He chose to put Rick and his ilk in as core. He did not want the body to fall apart. You don't build a human from the skin in.
Now when I go to X-biking class and we are in sustain mode, I will work my handlebars to the right and left while trying to keep my core centered. I can line up the center of the bike and I try to keep my eyes precisely above that while pushing the bars to one side. It is not easy as you want to lean with your head and body in the direction your hands go. It requires a lot of my core when I do this. I feel it later in the day.
Someone had to hang on to the essence of Christ when others around him were running off to other gospels, New Age, Prosperity, etc. He kept reading and studying the Bible, kept telling people about Christ and kept seeing results.
It's curious to me that I remember one of the strongest images in my mind immediately after Rick died was that there had been an explosion and there was a giant hole from my chest down to my legs. it was as if I could have looked down at myself and there was no middle, just a hole you could see right through, empty, air. Nothing. That's where a core is, right in the center.
I could also see him as feet. How beautiful are the feet of the one who brings good news. Maybe a later post.