‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us’ writes the author of the first letter from John. (1 John 1:14). God was embodied in Jesus, yet the Christian Church historically has found the body to be quite a problematic thing. This is especially true around sex and sexuality “Sex is dirty and nasty, so save yourself and only do it with someone you love” is the mixed message that many of us received. Yet we use our body to express ourselves; our faces show emotion, our bodies move – in NLMCC we “rise as we are able” for songs and sit for prayers. We might clap our hands, tap our feet or click our fingers to the rhythm of the music. We take in God’s creation through our senses – we have bodily responses to the world around us. One writer described God’s presence as the ‘fragrance of God’. He suggests that once you have scented God’s presence, you are always alert to catching even the smallest whiff of Divine perfume in the everyday stuff of life. We experience God through our body – we ‘feel’ God’s presence.
Our bodies are part of who we are, they are not separate from our emotions or our spirits. Using our bodies in different ways for prayer may add a new dimension to our prayer lives. We may even experience God in a whole new way. How might it be to try out some different ways of praying with the body? Perhaps it is something that you used to do, like kneeling by your bed as a child to say your prayers. Perhaps it is something that you have seen others do, like raising their hands, or bowing their heads when they say the name ‘Jesus’. You don’t need to try it in church, just in your own space. This week, I invite you to try something new, something different, perhaps even something that feels outside your comfort zone. Use your body in a new way to worship God and see if it makes a difference. Be bold and embodied!