by Anisha S.

Structure determines function. 

A phrase drilled into the heads of many pre-med students alike, as we learned about the wonders of fibers arranged in parallel groups to make a joint stronger, the chambers of the heart working to send blood to the body, and the villi in the large intestine utilized to maximize nutrient absorption. We were told that all of creation was informed by their physicality. The way things were put together signified how they were to act; a message that has only begun to ring more true during my time at SMI. 

A 60-year-old woman shouted after us, ushering us to her steps, as the rain began to beat down on our chests. Come quickly, keep yourselves dry up here. We walked up the cement stairs, greeted by 2 pairs of large brown eyes. One pair was still found on a 6-month-old, as he played with his crib mobile, and the other, belonging to a 2-year-old, as she chugged milk from her sippy cup. That’s enough milk, Lyss. She grabbed the bottle, turning her attention back to us. Yes, please, do whatever you want. I gotta get my pressure taken. A brief moment of silence, as we unpacked our bags, laying out the blood pressure cuff and scale and health forms-––– they’re my grandkids, if you’re wondering. I didn’t want them to go into the system. Her gaze returns to the 6-month-old, Brandon, isn’t that right, she coos, pinching his cheek, smiling. Her name was Sugar, we soon learned. She hadn’t seen her daughter in a while. She had beaten two types of cancer. And she now had two little kids to take care of. And just like that, on that rainy Wednesday afternoon, we were singing “Jesus Loves You”, taking blood pressure, and experiencing life with Lyss and Brandon, and Sugar. 

While we meet Sugar early on during our medical outreach, screenings like these continue to be reflected throughout our time at SMI and through the entire community. Truly an embodiment of Christ’s sacrificial love, as she has let so much go to provide the best life for her grandkids, stories like Sugar’s have only exemplified how much Kensington is a true mirror of the body of Christ. For it is written in Ephesians 4:15-16: 

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him, the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” 

When Christ is the head of the body, it is in his love that we, as believers, can use as a direction in all that we do. The head guides the rest of the body, in which each part is joined together in their kinship of the kingdom. And it is people like Sugar, leading their lives in light of Jesus’ sacrificial love, that has made neighborhoods, blocks, and the community of Kensington display the power of love grown outward––– an image I have had the honor to witness and be in awe of. 

Because as our biology classes say, when structure determines function when the body of Christ is intact, it is there that we find hope in the love of Jesus Christ.