Lenten Theme: The Body of Christ

For this season of Lent, we will focus on the theme verse, Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. – I Corinthians 12:27.

This means together as a congregation we are God’s messengers, but it also means that each one of us has a sacred nature within us. When Jesus became flesh, He hallowed the human form and made it eternally beautiful. Since “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” we now share a common humanity with the Lord of heaven and earth. 

Within the Judeo-Christian tradition this understanding has been battered over the centuries specifically through Plato, Neo-Platonism, Descartes, and Kant. The ancient concept of dualism has grown strong in which the physical world is seen to be a shadow world or perhaps even inherently evil and that our task in life is to rise above it. The result has been the degradation of life in the here and now, leading us to believe true life is only found in the world of ideas and of Spirit.

But Christianity asserts that there is an inherent sacredness to life. Thus, we are all beautiful, but not primarily in the way that we see in glamour magazines. Yet it is a physical beauty – but not judged by height, the line of the leg, or the perimeter of the waist – it is a beauty defined by what the body does in service to God.

The hand that helps,

the mind that contemplates,

the heart that breaks, 

the eyes that see the truth,

and the mouth that offers grace.

There is an ancient poem attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century). Some of the words from this poem are memorialized in the most reverent and soulful of hymns, O Sacred Head Now Wounded. 

This poem speaks of our Lord’s head, His lips, His face, and His heart – and how in their breaking we are made whole.

This excerpt captures the beauty of the poem:

O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,

When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,

Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,

When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.

Specifically on the following dates we will explore:

Sunday, February 26 | The Sacredness of Humanity
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (I Corinthians 12:27)

Sunday, March 5 | His Feet
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace (Isaiah 52:7)

Tuesday, March 7 | Membra Jesu nostri (The Body of Christ) by Dietrich Buxtehude
(Special Worship Service at 7:30 PM)

Sunday, March 12 | His Hands and Knees
And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:16)
Like newborn children, we will be carried at the breast, and cradled upon a mother’s knee. (Isaiah 66:12)

Sunday, March 19 | Everything Exposed by the Light Becomes Visible
Everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says, ‘Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ (Ephesians 5:13-14)

Sunday, March 26 | His Breast (Cantata Sunday with music of Johannes Brahms)
renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

Sunday, April 2 | His Heart (Palm / Passion Sunday)
The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, …and it grieved him to his heart. (Genesis 6:6)

Sunday, April 9 | His Face (Resurrection of the Lord)
And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. (Matthew 17:2)