In the Episcopal church and many others, during the Eucharist (Mass, Communion) we break the bread, representing Christ’s body broken for us.
We’ve seen a lot of Christ’s body broken.
There was the woman refugee with a shoulder injury who couldn’t get proper treatment. Christ’s body broken.
There was the refugee who had to leave so fast he and his wife didn’t even have time to grab clothes for their children. Christ’s body broken.
There was the 8 year old (?) Yazidi girl outside the tent city of 30,000, trying to sell bits and baubles to us and others passing on the highway. Christ’s body broken.
There was the Syriac Christian community, struggling between the Kurds and Turks, dwindling and afraid for its future. Christ’s body broken.
There are the 800,000 IDP’s (internally displaced persons – people who are refugees within their own country) within northern Iraq, living in an anxious present and facing an uncertain future. Christ’s body broken.
There was the constantly spoken mistrust of the other: Kurds don’t trust Arabs, Christians don’t trust either of them. Christ’s body broken.
Christ’s body broken in a million different ways. God have mercy.
Christ was also present in wholeness.
Present in the ways refugees took care of each other. Present in the mayor and village who not only took in their own – Christians – but took in Yazidis as well. Present in the often imperfect work of NGO’s and others trying to bring some relief in the face of the onslaught.
Present for us in the hospitality shown every day by strangers. Present for us in the honesty and dignity displayed to us by those most affected in this crisis.
Present in the Kurdish man sitting next to me on the plane from Diyarbakir. When I asked him about his 3 boxes of sweets that he was taking on his business trip as gifts to clients, he gave me one.
Christ’s body, broken and whole.
This is the sixth in a series about my trip to southeastern Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, along with four others from the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia. The trip was led by Fr. Dale Johnson, who grew up in northern Washington but has lived much of the past 25 years in southeastern Turkey as a Syriac Orthodox priest. The earlier posts are available on my blog, unflinchinglife.com.