When a man and woman get married, they have to show up.
They don’t just send an email, they physically stand before a priest or pastor.
They don’t just think their vows, they say them out loud for others to hear.
They don’t give something pretend, they place a ring of gold on each others’ fingers.
And, if you’ll allow me to go there, they don’t text each other naked photos or fantasize about each other from a distance. They consummate their vows in the flesh, skin to skin in the marriage bed.
We are physical creatures, and just as a husband and wife’s bodies matter in marriage, Jesus’ body and your body matter in our faith.
During Lent, we reflect on Jesus’ gift of Himself and our feeble, if not absent, response to His love.
Imagine a wedding where the man says his vows and pledges his life for his bride, and she, in turn, stands silent, a smile on her face. Or imagine she says an enthusiastic thank you, and then reaches for a bite of wedding cake.
We’d leave such a wedding saddened and confused.
Jesus does not take us by force, nor does He manipulate or guilt-trip us into returning His love. We are free to say no to Him and choose someone else. This is, in fact, what we have done. Leaving Jesus at the altar, we went to bed with another lover.
What is the Passion if not Jesus giving Himself to His beloved while she sleeps in the arms of another? What is the crucifixion if not Jesus breaking the power of the wedding certificate we signed to our own peril? And what is the resurrection if not Jesus coming back for the unfaithful ones He loves even still?
I don’t know that we can ever plumb the depths of how much this matters.
But I do know it calls us to respond.
During this Easter season, during these 50 days of celebrating the bodily resurrection of Jesus for us, we each can respond to Him with our own, “Jesus, thank you for giving Your body for me. This now is my body, given for You.”
When you feel lonely and ache for touch, turn your longing toward Him: This is my body, given for You.
As you resist sexual temptation, turn your unmet desire into a sacrifice: This is my body, given for You.
When you worship—lifting your voice, raising your hands, or dancing like a fool—do so for before Him alone: This is my body, given for You.
When you wake in the night to nurse a crying baby, give your body for Him: This is my body, given for You.
When you open your door to an orphan or widow, see Him in their faces: This is my body, given for You.
When you enjoy the gift of this moment, turn your gratitude His way: This is my body, given for You.
How else might you give your body to Him as He’s given His to you? No one can give your body for you. When and where else do you want to practice praying “This is my body, given for You,” in response to His gift?
Leave a comment below.