Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega of my spiritual nourishment. His covenant-bonding blood makes possible my connection to God, and my eternal survival. The breath of his Spirit gives sustenance to my soul. It is not surprising, then, that a church community has been likened to a spiritual hospital, where those whose souls are injured, sick, or generally unhealthy come to heal. We are encouraged to actively participate in our spiritual hospital throughout our life, because just as we need air and water to survive physically, we need Christ’s presence for our souls to survive, and bear the fruits of his Spirit.
As God models in the trinity of Father, Son and Spirit, soul-refreshing community is essential for one’s spiritual health. No one would think of digging a hole in the ground and putting in a tomato or cucumber plant, and then forgetting about it until a few weeks later when you want its fruit. We all need the continuing watering for our souls that Christ’s body, the church community, provides.
Nourishing within the community is not limited to a special few. Throughout the New Testament we are reminded that we carry the Spirit of the living Christ in our souls, the same Spirit that Christ sent to be our advocate and our comforter. Thus the church community is meant to be the place where God’s covenant offering, Jesus Christ, is shared through its members and with those in need. It is in the church community where our lives are washed with the water of the Word. Spiritual nurturing is Christ lived out through the church, and through each of us as believers. As we fashion ourselves as Christ’s instruments caring for others as He cared for all who came to him, we enable the Holy Spirit to live through us, loving, healing, listening, and nurturing.
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored? Jeremiah 8:22
When Jesus heard this, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners." Mark 2:17