“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?… Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
~ 1 Cor. 6:1920
Our Lenten theme this year is Coming to our Senses: Honoring the Body during Lent. Some of you may be puzzled as to why we chose this theme and what it means.
- Three years ago, many of you journeyed with us through the book Practicing our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People. Each week, we engaged 12 different ways of practicing our faith, and “Honoring the Body” was the very first one. Many of you found this overall theme enlightening and wanted to pursue these individual practices more deeply and intentionally. Dr. Stephanie Paulsell, professor at Harvard Divinity School, has written a wonderful companion book called Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice, which is available for purchase in the church office for $12. We encourage you to read it and join us for conversation in adult education on Sunday mornings.
- Tami just finished her term as Moderator of Hudson River Presbytery. The theme she chose for her moderatorial year was “Centered in the Body” and each of the 6 Presbytery gatherings throughout the year focused on one of the five senses and what it means to be the Body of Christ that is the presbytery. She received overwhelmingly positive feedback that this theme encouraged people to reflect more deeply and holistically about the scriptures and our faith and calling to be the Body of Christ on earth.
- Throughout its history, the Christian church has had a conflicted relationship with the physical side of our humanity. On the one hand, our physical bodies are part of God’s created order which God called good, and Paul uses the metaphor of the body to describe the community of Jesus’ followers. On the other hand, the church has often viewed our physical bodies as the primary source of weakness and sin, as something to be overcome and left behind on our spiritual quest. This mixed message which has tilted overwhelmingly toward the negative needs to be corrected if we are to live into the fullness of who God created and calls to be.
- We are surrounded by a culture that trumpets way too many unhealthy ideas about our bodies, unrealistic ideals of beauty, and distorted understandings of sexuality and relationships. It is the church’s responsibility to teach and model a Christian alternative that affirms the sacredness of our bodies, in all their glorious diversity, and builds healthy relationships that reflect our Christian values. We are excited to have Dr. Kate Ott from the Drew University Theological School with us on Sunday, February 28th, to help us begin and continue a healthy conversation about faith and sexuality.
- And finally, we just thought it would be a fun and interesting way to grow in our relationship with God and one another!
Throughout the season of Lent, you will be asked to engage your senses in worship and in your daily lives, pay attention to and take care of your body, try some new practices, and reflect on what it means to be an essential part of the Body of Christ that is the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown. As Paul reminds us, “Now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it”(1 Cor. 12:27).
As we journey toward the miracle of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus, may we open our eyes and ears, our hearts and hands, our minds and spirits, to grow in our love for God, ourselves, one another and this world God created.
~Chip and Tami