Advent 5 – I am body – therefore I am

This is my final advent reflection for 2009…

What sort of body are you?
A busy-body
A lazy-body
A beautiful – body
You see my body, not my mind, not my soul, not my heart, not my feelings
Does any-body care?
Every- body wants to be a some-body
No-body wants to be a no-body
I am body – therefore I am

“The soul does not war with the body; the soul loves the body” – Meister Eckhart

“Our sensuality is a gift from God; in fact, “God is our sensuality” – Julian of Norwich
“You need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance, and twelve for growth”
Virginia Satir

And so finally we are left with body. A body theology majors in touch, in feelings, in the senses, in sensuality (the English word for Incarnation) in what touches us and moves us. Body theology grounds us in the now, in the present, in the moment and demands a rediscovery of the reverence of flesh and a reawakening of the body, the resurrection of the bodily.

I wish you all a SENSUAL, embodied, Christmas.

Advent 4 – The body of Christ

At the first Christmas God didn’t send a book, or a message via a body-less ‘audible’ voice, no text, no website, no thunderbolt but a baby, a vulnerable body. This was the most vulnerable act where this god-child could have been exposed to emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual abuse.

‘The incarnation had nothing to do with theology. It was rather about vulnerability, about letting go, about emptiness, about surrender and none of that is in the head’ Richard Rohr

The two big events celebrated in the Christian calendar in remembrance of Jesus are united by the centrality of body. The commonalties include, nakedness, vulnerability, letting go and emptiness. At Christmas, the tenderness of new born soft flesh and at Easter, the torn, whipped stripped, beaten and wounded flesh and finally killed body.

Even though body is central to Church celebrations it remains uncomfortable with body and often is intent on rejecting and punishing the body. Society is full of people who are unhappy with body and feel the need to cover it, decorate it, change it, build it, enhance it and wound it. The Church often appears to be in constant conflict with body and continues to struggle to unite sensuality, sexuality and spirituality with sexuality and gender issues still hotly debated often causing disintegration.

However, when Jesus asked us to re-member him he didn’t ask us to read a book, obey certain laws, recall and repeat special words or perform a ritual. Instead he asked his followers to re-member his body, to embrace body, to eat body, to reconnect with body, to be embodied.

So this incarnation Christ invites us to hold his small vulnerable body and also his whipped, naked, beaten and wounded body. Christ invites us to love body, listen to body, and welcome body and to be tender with body; mine, yours and the body of Christ.

This is the body of Christ,
We are the body of Christ
We are body

Advent 3 … My God is so small, so weak and so soft, there is nothing my god can do!

I remember singing the chorus as a child , “My God is so Big, so strong and mighty there is nothing my god cannot do” and yet in advent this is not the god we are welcoming. Instead we welcome the small, the weak and the soft god.

Mankind and (some) womankind want to conquer the highest mountain, the moon, and achieve the greatest feat known to man / women. Yet, the depths of the sea have yet to be conquered, too much pressure!! Maybe we are fearful of the depths of the sea or of our psyche or inner being – maybe we are fearful of the dark and the monsters that we may find there. Maybe we are fearful or unwilling to face, listen to ‘the still small voice’ within. Many don’t want to STOP and listen to their inner fears, insecurities, longings or the inner voice of love deep within us.

So why do we fear the small part? Perhaps it is acknowledging the shame that resides deep inside, the shame that says you are worthless, not good enough, inadequate and small. Many of us can feel that we should / ought to be big, strong and sorted and yet sometimes inside we still feel like a little child. We feel weak, hurt, fearful and wounded. It is often said that Christmas is for children and indeed this season can often help us re-member childhood Christmas memories that may be sweet or for many may hold bitter memories. Our childhood still has such a strong hold on us!

So this advent, we wait for the baby Jesus who has no words.

He gives us his body to hold , to touch him, to feel him, to be with him, to look at him, to caress him, to stroke him, to feed him, to comfort him, – and that is enough. That is all he needs. (Research says that babies who are not touched can literally die) God invites us to hold him in his powerlessness, his weakness, his neediness, his poverty, his insecurity, his immaturity and his not knowing. He invites us to get out of our dualistic noisy, controlling and cool head and to enter into our body, listening to its silence, holding and being held, feeling and being felt and embracing the warmth it brings.

In holding his body he invites us to embrace the part of ourselves that we don’t like very much , and that we may learn that it is ok to feel small, needy, weak, powerless, insecure and not knowing.(many parents feel these feelings with new-born babies) Often to be held is our basic need and yet we live in a non-touch society and many can go through a day, week, and even a month without touching any-body.

Maybe the invitation of the incarnation is to allow ourselves to be touched and held.

Missional Advent 11 – Disbelief

Reality is suspended for Elizabeth when she is told she will give birth in her advanced years, and her husband is struck dumb. Zechariah gets his voice back when the child is born and named. At the appointed time Zechariah is released, and he gives praise to God and points the way to Christ. In our disbelief we try to voice our questions but perhaps we should remain silent and simply witness the growing presence of Christ around us.

Missional Advent 8 – Gift

Freely given, God gave Christ to us in absolute trust. A gift offered without any preconditions or expectations. In todays culture young people are often surprised when someone explains they are a volunteer, and when we do not expect something in return. To give ourselves freely with expectation, to be a gift to those you serve, takes us to the heart of incarnational mission.

Advent 2 – From dualism to dual heritage

For Jesus to straddle divinity and humanity he became a 1st century ‘half-caste’. Today the term ‘half- caste’ ,is not politically correct and yet in some countries marrying out of your caste remains, risky, unusual and culturally frowned upon. Yet God impregnates a human and mixes the divine with humanity and Jesus become a third culture child of mixed race and it was a risky and crazy thing to do..

Today we refer to people from two races/ cultures as ‘Dual heritage. Jesus was born from heaven and from earth and in this birth, the old doctrine of dualism from the old Testament is replaced by the duality of the New testament. In this joining up, the mixing up of races, this baby Jesus deletes divisions, creates a new default template of being, and smashes dualism with this act of mixing divinity and humanity.

This act is done not with words but with his body – the word becomes flesh and is full of grace and truth. The concept has become embodied.

On this advent let us get into our body and move…

From a God up there to a God down here
From a God out there to a God in here
From thinking to feeling
From dualism to duality
From division to mixing
From disintegration to integration
From separateness to togetherness
From disconnectedness to connectedness
Being neither dependant, nor independent but interdependence
Being neither your God, nor my God but our God
Mixing you, me and we
Being Alone and together
Being fully human