To Be Christian Is to Have a BodyNew Every Morning | February 21, 2023
When I found myself at the altar on that Ash Wednesday and felt the warm thumb of my pastor on my forehead, something shifted. I became aware that there is no way for me to be a Christian without my body. It was my body that moved through that sanctuary, my body that sang the longing, penitential hymns, and my body that watched as candles flickered on the altar table. It was my body that smelled the oily ashes spread on my forehead as a tangible, sensory reminder of my humanity.
Yet all those messages telling me my body was bad were—and sometimes still are—circling through my being. It has taken many years of the Holy Spirit whispering something new into my soul for me to consider that maybe, just maybe, my body is good.
—Anne Cummings, My Body Is Good: Giving Up Diet Culture and Embracing Body Positivity for Lent (Upper Room Books, 2022)
Why do you think so many of the church’s rituals involve bodily gestures such as bowing, kneeling, reaching out for Communion, etc.? Join the conversation.
After taking the bread and giving thanks, [Jesus] broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
—Luke 22:19 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
God of new beginnings, help me to
acknowledge, perhaps for the first time,
the beliefs about my body that I have
held for so long. Guide me in sorting
which beliefs are helpful and which are
harmful. Lead me back to you and
to this body that you called good. Amen.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Join us on March 18, 2023, for an online Academy Day Apart retreat, where we will focus on the spiritual practices of silence and contemplation as we journey intentionally through this Lenten season. We will be guided by Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes and Andrew Wilkes, authors of Psalms for Black Lives. In our time together during this retreat, Gabby and Andrew will help us engage the Psalms to create a laboratory of justice imagination. Learn more and register here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.
I never thought of this before. It is intriguing. In the Bible also there are many instances of the people’s bodies being used to worship the Lord. There is singing and dancing and the playing of instruments as well as moaning and crying and tearing of one’s clothing during mourning and times of trouble. We use our bodies to express our many emotions to God and others. Why? I think one reason is because words alone are not adequate.
H continues to have delusions. Now he thinks Megan and I are moving boxes of our stuff out of the house in preparation of leaving him. He asks repeatedly what the “plan is moving forward.” Who knows what his mind will conjure next.
Perhaps it is muscle memories. We remember things we do with our bodies. Perhaps Christian rituals help us to see through the lies we tell ourselves and help us to see ourselves as the Lord sees us. Most importantly, it Helps us to remember what Christ has done for us.
Today is another rough day, as we are probably saying goodbye to our Scout Finch, who has been with me 17 years. She is still a beauty and alert, but not eating or drinking, and stumbling when she walks. It hurts so much, but she’s had a great life. I think it’s time to let her go. My heart is broken, losing her the day after losing our Kissaboo, whom my sister and I rescued and was a wonderful companion to our mama. Please pray for us as we let Scout go.
I too had not thought about this, but worship requires using our bodies. Yes, Ally, it does help us remember what Christ did for us.
Sad losing Kissaboo an Scout Finch, thankful for the great memories they made for you and your family. They are blessings. Lots of life lessons taught having pets.
Blessings as Ash Wednesday arrives. Our lay pastor in training is sick so I’m off to the Lutheran church for Ash Wednesday service. May this Lent be a blessing to all the NEM family. Thank You, Lord.