It’s very easy in longer postings (such as the previous) to forget the closest things. Church is everything the Scriptures say of it, but we largely encounter Christ in a particular setting, among particular friends and family (sometimes). Thus, just as He gives Himself to us in His consecrated Body and Blood, so too, He gives Himself to us in the flesh and blood, and spirit, of the witnesses with whom we share His presence.
My experience has taught me that it is that particular place that the cross is erected – that these people are the ones to whom I must empty myself and will find it most hard.
Each year, on the Sunday of Forgiveness, some weeks away on the Orthodox calendar, we make our beginning of Lent by asking forgiveness of all in the congregation. I do allright most years until I begin to face the members of my family. There I become overwhelmed with the depths of forgiveness for which I am seeking, and how far short I have fallen in my efforts to bear my cross.
It is for reasons such as these that the task of Christians loving one another, forgiving one another, coming to the common mind of Christ are so existentially daunting. For the Church is not formed on the internet, but within the warm embrace of those whom we likely fail the most.
May God give us all the grace to love and to be loved. To forgive and to be forgiven. To be filled and to be emptied. And in all things to know Christ who gave Himself for all.