I believe in the KJV Paul said it was with the bowels of Christ that he yearned for those he loved from all his travels. A strange sensation really. He didn't say that it was with human affections that he yearned with, but Christ's. Interesting too that he never mentions his family except when he uses familial terms to refer to his fellow sojourners. Not to say he didn't love his fam', but there was a different order of affection for those of the body whom he interacted with. Being away from all of the people I love has caused me to reflect upon this and I have found some of what the apostle was speaking of. While I do not have a host of converts or churches planted there are many fellow sojourners whose lives God has graciously mingled with mine in the mystery of the flesh. We have shared tent pegs for a season, so to speak, as we have made our way in The Way on this turf. I have found that family is one thing, but those with whom I have communed are of a different order. Even Christ said 'Who are my brothers?'. To fellowship again is my deepest desire and the dearest treasure of all my memories. Even in the context of the Sunday morning animal (as one dear brother put it) I feel a deep anticipation. I will see my brothers and sisters gathered and our dear Lord walking amongst them. Many Sundays the Lord allowed me to just look around the place as He pointed out some of His kids and told me how proud He was (and is) of them. He allowed me briefly to see as He sees them and this has become my passion to always see them thusly. How amazingly wonderful is the Body and Bride of our Lord. She is adorned in sacrifice and praise. The stumbling steps of her naivete are astoundingly attractive as she catches His eye and it kindles such desire and hope. She sees in that moment that His eye has never left her and she then briefly understands the Holy.
Understand then my brothers and sisters, your beauty, for truly you are beautiful.