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.
While i appreciate this post in its perspective, I cannot…for the life of me…have ever experienced a deep, physical touch that I would say mirrors or rivals that of physical touch, with Jesus
Maybe that’s just me
Maybe I stand on my head when I read scripture
Maybe I should “just have more faith”
Not sure what I should do…click my heels 3x?
at some point in life, I’ve found my self engaged with many “Body” ideas of worship. I don’t see how those experiences will suffice the deep, aching longing that I experience almost daily for completeness.
(Maybe i’m not suppose to, maybe that is not a reasonable expectation in this life)
I could very well be missing a deep connection that Jesus offers. Yet, in times that I found myself in the deepest prayer, the most solace of moments…I still have no experience of a physical connection with Jesus.
I don’t know what to call the Christian life, but it hasn’t been a rapture of deep connection.
Full of service, sure
Community, it’s been great
a deep meta-physical connection to Jesus in which living waters flow….#syntaxerror, #page404notfound, #doesnotcompute
This was a great post for me to read today. Also, really enjoyed the comment by Matthew.
I can’t understand how Jesus died for me and gave his body. It’s too overwhelming. Too much love for me to compute. Too much of his body given for me.
I’m recently separated and learning to live without physical touch is crazy hard. It’s like a deep yearning that never gets fulfilled. It sucks. But something about letting people in to see my pain. Something about being honest with my need for connection and lack of it. Something about talking about this in the context of others who feel the same way. That helps. It also helps me physically realize Jesus bodily love for me. If I slow down enough, stay physically aware of the moment and use mindfulness to connect with my own body, I can sometimes feel Jesus next to me. It’s weird, and it’s new for me. But its the best thing I’ve got. Cause the first 39 years of my life, I never had anything like that, no matter how much ‘church stuff’ I did.
This is a great quote to reflect on today for me:
“When you feel lonely and ache for touch, turn your longing toward Him: This is my body, given for You.”
Great blog, Josh. I love the extended metaphor to the physicality of marriage. Great to meditate on.
Sometimes I miss the pain and struggle I felt when I was single, lonely and calling brothers in the Lord to pray for me because I was tempted by porn. That pain can be a sort of touch from God, because it’s so intense.
Amen. Thank you.
Or if there is no god lol