In his Advent Oratorio, W.H. Auden counsels “love him [God] in the world of the flesh.” God’s world is beautiful and deserves our love and appreciation.
The apostle Paul describes the body as the temple of the Spirit and invites us to glorify God in our bodies. There are many ways to glorify God in embodiment, but some of the most helpful involve movement and exercise, healthy eating habits, meditation, rest and stress-reducing techniques, and healthy touch. We can love God in the world of our flesh by appreciating the wonder of embodiment. This may involve letting go of the negative messages of the media, family of origin, and society and discovering that we are beautiful just as we are – wrinkled, short, tall, slender, or overweight.
Practicing healthy embodiment involves honoring your body as it is right now, and then moving forward with appropriate health practices. (If you do not have a health practice or have health risk factors, please consult your physician.)
We begin the journey with creative affirmations:
My body is the temple of God.
My body is beautiful just as it is.
I glorify God in my body.
I love God by caring for my body.
Aging brings forth greater beauty of mind, body, and spirit.
Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, healing companion, retreat leader and lecturer, and author of nineteen books, including Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living; God’s Touch: Faith, Wholeness, and the Healing Miracles of Jesus; and Tending to the Holy: The Practice of the Presence of God in Ministry. He has taught at Georgetown University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Claremont School of Theology, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is currently theologian in residence at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org