From: Sally Jackson
This year, increased responsibilities at home, in work, and in my family have created a seemingly endless to-do list, one that is routine, and generally absent of awe. I have been steadily plodding along, thinking mainly of how to keep up with the tasks before me, and largely neglecting self-reflection or intentional invitation to God to meet me.
Recently, spiritual dryness hasn’t been helped by how a lengthier commute and several bike accidents have disrupted my exercise routine. I’ve felt less awake, less capable in my own skin, less in touch with the body I’ve been given by God. Coming into Lent, I’ve shared with friends how during this season, I want to break into my routine and to invite God in, and to do it, in part, by literally stretching and walking and finding my way back to the bodily remembrance of my creatureliness. I want to remember that my body isn’t just a vehicle for me to accomplish my to-do list, but a very real way I can find my place before God and encounter him.
I’m encouraged my today’s passage in 1 John, how the apostle and the earliest saints’ testimony is of their physical encounter with the living Christ: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life” (1:1-2). John’s own trust in the resurrection was delivered through the senses — the sight in his eyes and the touch of his own hands. His body was a vehicle to faith and joy, and the gift of knowing God more fully came through his body.
Of course, I depend on his firsthand testimony for my own faith, but it is the bodily encounter with Jesus that I am keeping close this season. Of course, my own encounters with him will look different from John’s. But with the tug of each stretch and lunge, I can confront my embodied self a bit more. With each short breath and heightened heart rate, I can remember my limits as a human and my dependence on God. And with every step away from my desk, I can create space to actually listen a bit more intently.
Whether it’s through yoga or running or biking, or perhaps something a bit more traditional to Lent, I pray you each create space to let the Lord in a little bit more this season.
I live in West Roxbury, work in the Fenway, and absolutely love pie. I also have never been able to read 1 John 1:7 without thinking of DC Talk’s “In the Light”. You’re welcome.