“We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel’s promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.”
-EFCA Statement of Faith
A little boy was frightened by a storm one night. Several times he cried out in fear and his mother would come to his room for comfort and to remind him that God was always with him. As she prepared to leave the third time her son grabbed her arm, held tight, and said, “I know Mommy, but I want God with skin-on!”
As we looked at this past Sunday, the God who heard our cries, came down to planet earth and encountered suffering personally in a way that the Almighty God had never before encountered. Jesus was God with skin on. Let me take this one step further.
As the church, we are Jesus’ body. Jesus was a visual representation of the invisible God.
We are to be God with skin on to each other in the church and to our unbelieving friends and neighbors. Jesus met each person at his point of need. We should, too.
I have been blessed by that warm smile on Sunday morning, that reminder I am being prayed for, and that handwritten note that says, “thanks for the livestreaming of Sunday services.”
For the one who could use a meal right now, God with skin on, drops that meal off. We can be God with skin on to the one who needs some companionship, or a ride to an appointment, or a word of encouragement. In scary, challenging times, we can be “God with skin on” by speaking words of hope to each other.
The ministry of presence is something we are called to and does not require a certain gift set. However, since God has arranged the parts of the body just as he determined, we do use the spiritual gifts God has given each of us to carry out the ministry of presence. For some, it is through the gift of hospitality. For others, it is through the gift of encouragement or mercy or helps or giving or one of the other many gifts mentioned in Scripture. s
The late Wayne Oats called the idea of “God with skin-on” the ministry of presence. Whenever we share our lives with others or when we are the hands and feet of Jesus in meeting a need, we become the powerful presence of God. How can you practice the ministry of presence this week?