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