Looking for God’s Goodness in contemplation and prayer. A Contemplation on Honoring the Body.
The practice of honoring the body is born of the confidence that our bodies are made in the image of God’s own goodness. As the place where the divine presence dwells, our bodies are worthy of care and blessing and ought never to be degraded or exploited. It is through our daily bodily acts that we might live more fully into the sacredness of our bodies and the bodies of others.
Mainstream Christianity, despite the many gnostic temptations to declare the body “sinful,” is incarnational. The practice of honoring the body challenges us to remember the sacredness of the body in every moment of our lives… Because our bodies are so vulnerable, we need each other to protect and care for them.
We honor our body every time we perform a physical act which intentionally recognizes the sacred nature of our bodies. This might include such simple functions as bathing (we are reminded of Jesus’ washing of tired and dirty feet as an act of hospitality and service to our bodies.) It may refer to how we adorn ourselves. What do you hope your clothing says about you and your commitments? In what cases does adornment separate us from others? Has adorning your body ever helped you be more attentive to God’s presence?
Honoring the body certainly includes anything that has to do with touching. Touching, when it is appropriate, seeks to honor, not diminish. When have you been aware of a healing touch? Recall occasions when you have cared for another through touch. Of course this discipline includes sexuality. How is sexuality exploited? What rituals mark the physical development of young people and teach them to affirm the goodness of their bodies? What forms of “body knowledge” enable teenagers to honor their bodies and resist behaviors that degrade the body?
Ultimately honoring the body includes our belief in bodily resurrection, however we might imagine that. Jesus’ resurrected body teaches us that bodies matter and shows us the beauty God intends for all bodies. As we seek God and each other in our bodies, as we pay attention to ways to honor the body, we remember that everybody is blessed by God, deserving of protection and care.
Weekly Reflection Summary: Temperance
Sunday. Embodied. The experience of one’s body in the world.
Monday. Satisfied. Joy and resentment cannot coexist within the same heart.
Tuesday. Wisdom of Passions. A serious misuse of the term heart.
Wednesday. Being Seen. We are groaning to be seen.
Thursday. Lost Signs. Spirit is always drawing us together in union.
Friday. The Gift. How will I honor my gift today?