Saturday, April 11, 2009

This Is My Body

I must confess that Station 13 was the most moving meditation I experienced yesterday during DART Stations of the Cross. It called me back to my body from the 12 previous meditations that had turned me inward in reflection. Thank you Pastor Laura for reminding us that we are embodied souls.

The prevailing idea that masquerades as "spirituality" these days is that we are not our bodies; that we are ghosts in the machine, brains in a vat, souls trapped in flesh prisons. But the words of Pearl Buck's mother shattered that shallow theology when she responded to nurses who said her dead son's body was just a body and that he wasn't there anymore. She said, "But this body is the one that I carried in my body, and this body is the one that I gave birth to, and this body is the one that I fed with milk from my body... this body is my baby, this body is my son."

Indeed, what are we without our bodies? Without a body to encounter the world we do not know the world. Without a body against which the world can make contact we have no awareness of ourselves. Our bodies put us in touch with others and ourselves. Every sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch puts me in contact with the Other that is not-Me and it is in that encounter that I discover Me. My body also allows me to relate to others. I can see the faces of others and catch glimpses of their soul, listen to their stories , smell the world I have ignored in their clothes, taste their tears born of sorrow and joy, and touch their wounds. The ethical implications of remembering that we are embodied souls are profound.This Easter Sunday the words "this is my body, broken for you" will take on profoundly deeper meaning.

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