A Easter message from Pastor Matthias –
Growing up I regularly attended a Presbyterian summer camp outside of Kansas City. The sessions were up to a week long, spent variously in cabins, lodges, or A – F names. There was always horseback riding, swimming in the pool, crafts, games, Bible studies. Every evening ended with vespers. One of the songs we would regularly sing had this line: “my spirit is willing, but my flesh is so weak.” While this lyric can be read as reflecting back the reality of the fragility of our lives and human bodies, it also continues an unhelpful dichotomy between spirit (or soul) and body. Borrowing from Greek philosophy, early Christians looked at the human body — its needs and ailments and desires — as lesser, elevating the spiritual as more important and worthy of focus. This idea has hung around in Christianity. We see it in religious platitudes, purity culture, ableism, and the dismissal of earthly justice movements in favor of emphasizing heavenly rewards. Further, this separation is a heresy that props up white supremacy and patriarchy with a fiction of perfect detachment, objectivity, and rationality. Mind over body. But our bodies are integral to who God made us each to be. We see this truth borne out in Jesus. He was charged with being a glutton and drunk (e.g. Matt. 11:19). He clearly enjoyed sharing meals and forming community around the table. He napped when his body needed rest (e.g. Mark 4:38). Touch was central to much of his ministry of healing (e.g. Luke 5:13). And as we enter Holy Week at the start of April and the Easter season beyond, we remember that Jesus’ very embodiment and concern for the bodily well – being and liberation of others led to his own death. His resurrection too, then, was not just some spiritual ascension, but new life incarnate. So even as we feel weakness, tiredness, aches or illnesses, we are called to an embodied faith that affirms the goodness of our bodies and that God’s blessings felt in our bodies — tastes, sounds, aromas, beauty and delights — are holy too.
Yours on the journey,