I am reading two books right now; The Body is not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor and My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem. These two powerful books are leading me to think deeply about what it means to be embodied. In body. I am thinking about my body in the world, my relationship with my body, others’ bodies, and the fact that we worship a God that was birthed, in flesh, on Earth, with us.
Whether by ideals, feelings, dreams, or ability, it is much too easy for us to compartmentalize ourselves. We forget that the relationship between our mind, body, and soul are what make us whole. We do the same thing with each other, as we try to understand each other as “personalities,” fitting our perceptions of each other into nice, neat little boxes. However, to truly be human, be all that we are, we need to acknowledge the beautiful machinery we each inhabit – ourselves as our body knows us. The fullness of our history, our future, and each day resides within our bodies.
There is a reason our creation stories, stories of Jesus’ life, and even our sacraments are all about physically getting into the stuff of life. We are created to get into it. We are created to be present, in our bodies, together through the good and the bad. Our senses work with our synapses to help us knew meaning and truth. Our emotions work with our nerves to reverberate throughout our entire bodies so that we know safety and peace. None of us have the perfect perspective. We need each other to know the full truth of what it means to be human. It is when we show up, warts and all, together, that we know what it means that the Word became flesh. It is then that we know grace and truth in our midst.
What would happen if we could drop all of the what ifs and maybes about what someone might be and do and instead just showed up to meet them as they – we – are? What if we could drop the mistrust and believe we are who we show ourselves to be? I wonder if, when we do that, we might actually see Christ in our midst in a way we never have before, a way our world desperately needs to know Christ right now.
Listen to the following song. Consider the physicality of the lyrics. These lyrics are not merely an abstract invitation, but a call from God to be physically present together, just as God created us to be. And as we show up together, may we know the truth of the Word made flesh more clearly than ever before.