Listen to Our Body
This worship/lament is one of the more profound services I have ever watched and participated in. Please take the time to view and participate in this service, developed by the Council of Bishops, Discipleship Ministries, UM Communications and Religion and Race :
"Dismantling Racism: A Service of Lament, Repentance, Communion and Commitment"
In times of stress and challenge, we are often reminded to tune into our bodies and listen to what they are teaching us. Advice given to us for releasing tension and anxiety include:
- Breathe (get oxygen into your whole system, especially our thinking brains/minds). Pray.
- Pay attention to where the places of tension are. Find ways to address the pain. We are instructed in ways to physically relax the areas of tension, or get a massage, or exercise, or deal with the emotional, spiritual and/or psychological components of our tension.
- Move, exercise, dance, do something physical to release the tension. Involve yourself in something you care about, from hobbies to social activism to volunteering to being with people you love.
- Get away from everything for a while. Practice sabbath. Go for a walk outdoors. Do something playful and fun.
This advice is true for us in the church as well. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. … Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12: 12-13, 27)
As a church and as a culture, we are living through great stress and challenge. During this time, we must listen to our body – the body of Christ – the body to which we all belong. If one hurts, we all hurt. We each are important and there is no part of us which can be cut off or turned away, nor is there a part of us that can reject or deny the vital importance of any other part. We need each other. We must collectively listen to our body:
- Breathe in and open up to the energy and life of the Spirit so it is part of everything we are and do. Pray together.
- Pay attention to the places where we hurt. Where is there tension and pain? How can we most effectively address the pain? What does it mean for us, as a church body, to advocate with, to learn about, to deal with the pain of our broken, divisive cultural systems which exclude and marginalize and harm and limit access?
- Get involved. Join a movement where God calls you to invest your passions in something that makes a difference.
- Practice sabbath as a community of faith. Have some fun together.
Together. We need each other. We are in this together. We are baptized into one body, drinking together in the one Spirit, as the one body of Christ. May we be the effervescent, vibrant, alive, dancing, holy, grace-filled, reconciling, healing, witnessing, water-washed, rainbow-covered, colorful, full-bodied, embodied body of Christ.
Holy God of blessing and beauty, breathe into us your healing and holiness. Enliven our worn and weary bodies and church. Cleanse and mend our brokenness, especially in the ways we exclude and cut ourselves off from one another. Remind us of who you made us to be as your people in community.
Embolden us to justice and action. Renew us in your Spirit. We pray in the name and spirit of Christ Jesus. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.