Here’s a story told me by a friend. It has provided much food for thought.
He went to an Benedictine abbey near his house. Wandering into the side of the sanctuary he found an icon of Christ Pantocrator. For sometime he had been going through a time of spiritual frustration. Prayer, the long focused kind good Christians are supposed to have, was an increasing struggle for him. Affixed before him was a physical object on which to focus his prayers. Internally he began venting his frustrations at the picture on the wall when he was interrupted by some people entering another part of the sanctuary. (Noises echo in those Gothic buildings made of stone.) He left and went outside, with the icon in mind.
“Jesus I feel so alone,” he complained, “It would be so much better if you were like that icon, physical and present, not invisible, intangible. Why haven’t you provided somebody for me, an icon with a body? Loving an bodiless God and knowing I am loved by Him isn’t enough. I want something I can wrap my arms around and be embraced by.”
Then came a voice in his head, not an actual voice but more like a strong intruding though. It could have been his own thought, yet it shot out above all the other thoughts.
It said, “But I do have a body. ”
He knew instantly what that body was, the church, the body of Christ.
“Yes, but…um…I don’t like that body. It frustrates me. Besides, it rarely ever functions as the body should. It is not enough.”
“Then you should be the body that should be.”
His mind writhed, looking for an escape to what felt like checkmate.
“Not me, I can’t be the body. I have enough trouble being my own body.”
With that he knew the conversation would continue no farther, it was at an end.