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May 4 | 1 John 1:1-7

DAILY READING


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REFLECTION


The Body of Christ

by Katie Borden


Raise your hand if you have ever had a complicated relationship with your own physical body. (Or, you know, if you’re reading this at the office or in a crowded coffee shop, you can raise a metaphorical hand.) If your hand is raised, know that my hand is up right there with yours.

[I want to acknowledge right now that we’ve all experienced the physical dimension of our- selves differently, and you should know up-front that I’m going to be spending some time talking about our physicality today. If discussion about physical bodies is a sensitive subject for you such that it’s going to be difficult for you to read about it, I want to give you permission in Christian love to skip today’s devotion. And if you want someone with whom to process your situation, we have an amazing group of pastors and care team members who would willingly walk alongside you.]

In my experience, I’ve noticed that in our society, we have a tendency to either over-value or under-value our own physical existence. Often, we become obsessed with our physical bodies and all they can (or don’t) do for us. I think we are all-too-aware of the hyper-sexualization of our culture, and I suspect that that has impacted how we view our own and others’ bodies. On the other end of the spectrum, we may deny entirely that we are physical creatures—we focus solely on our spiritual existence and decide that our physical members are something we must begrudgingly endure until we get to real life when we can finally shed these burdensome bodies.

For me, part of the beauty of the physical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is that he gives me a vision for a wholeness of life in mind, spirit, and body. He helps me rightly value our physicality as part of how he created us, and that it is good. When Jesus walked the earth, he did so in a physical body—he talked and ate with his mouth. He held and healed people with his hands. He even experienced his emotions in a physical way—he sweat, and he cried, and I have to imagine that he laughed. When Jesus suffered, he suffered in his body. Scripture tells us plainly about the physical trauma and pain he endured. And when Jesus rose from the dead, he did so in a body—securing our redemption in both body and soul.

Today’s text reminds us that Jesus’ disciples were witnesses to this physical reality. They saw the reality of Jesus—the Word incarnate—and the life he brings with their own eyes. Jesus does not merely promise us eternal life after death. Jesus also gives us the eternal kind of life in the here and now, wherever we are physically present right now. He provides us with life-giving light and goodness in body, mind, and spirit. This news frees us to encounter our physical selves exactly as God made them—as holy and good. For even these imperfect, sin-laden, and pained bodies are being redeemed. Thanks be to God.


 

PRAYER PRACTICE


Take some time to thank God for our redemption in Jesus--our redemption in body, mind, and soul. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you live into this redemption. And maybe try embodying your prayer today--perhaps kneel as you pray today, or hold out your hands, or even take a prayer walk. Embrace the beautiful physicality of life with Christ.




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