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Bodies

Luke 24: 36-45

Church of the Resurrection Insights Blog

Amy Oden


Bodies. These verses (Luke 24:36-45) are full of body-talk. “Look at my hands and feet,” “Touch me,” “flesh and bones,” “Do you have anything to eat?” There’s no “the-body-is-just-a-shell-that-doesn’t-matter-but-the-spirit-lives-on.” That’s Plato, not Jesus.

We’ve been confused and downright heretical about bodies at times in the church. We have dismissed, de-valued and even destroyed bodies. This body-denying is not biblical, and we subscribe to it at our peril. The good news is that the Word was made flesh in a human body! Flesh! There’s no higher endorsement of the human body than the Incarnation itself.

And it doesn’t stop there. Jesus’ whole ministry focuses on human bodies that need healing, visibility, mercy. He encounters bodies that are hurting, diseased, bleeding, bent, weakened, deranged or weary and takes them seriously. Eating and drinking, a basic body need, are central to Jesus’ ministry, table fellowship with friends. Later in Jerusalem, after his resurrection, Jesus shows up to his disciples fully present in a body. He asks to eat, bringing attention to his concrete physical body.

Jesus’ clear affirmation of his own body in Luke 24 is an invitation to reconnect with our own. Our bodies are a place God speaks to us most deeply, in our sensations, emotions and neural networks. In a sense, the Word is made flesh in our very bodies. Paying attention to our bodies, to our sensations and feelings can lead to greater intimacy with God, to deeper faith and discipleship.

One way to start reconnecting with your body is by focusing on your breathing. Take 4 or 5 slow, deep breaths and notice the oxygen as it fills your lungs and you release it. Then intentionally become aware of different parts of your body, any sensations or feelings they carry. Last, pay close attention to your heart or your gut, noticing sensations, feelings or insights resting there. Let your body speak to you. What wisdom does it offer?

Offer a prayer of gratitude for your breath and body today.

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