Easter – An Embodied Faith
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
On Easter, Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection – that God raised Jesus from the dead and in doing so defeated the ultimate power of death, sin and evil. As Christians, we believe that Jesus’ resurrection is a promise given to all of us both now and for eternity. Will we die? Of course, but we carry the hope that death is not the final power in our lives and that we will have an embodied eternal life with God. That is our future promise but there is a promise that we hold for our lives in the here and now.
Our current promise is that in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus we have abundant embodied lives now. What does that look like? Well that means that we have the power to be like Jesus. To be kind and respectful, to forgive others, to feed the hungry, help the poor, be a friend to those who are friendless, to love our neighbors and to be in conversation with God through prayer.
We do these things with our bodies. The Christian faith is an embodied faith. It is not just something we believe, it is something we practice. We practice with our attention to others, with our actions that help others, with our words that encourage, with our care for God’s creation, with our service to those in need and with our worship of praise and thanksgiving to God.
One of my favorite Christian embodied practices is prayer. Have you ever asked your child to pray? I do a lot. And it probably is one of the most sacred things I have ever experienced. When I first started to ask children to pray out loud in their own words, I thought their prayer would be like a Christmas or birthday wish list: “Please God give me a truck, a doll, a Nintendo Switch or a dog.” But most often what I hear when children pray is thanking God for something good, and asking God for something for someone else. “Thank you God for this school and my teacher.” “Please God help my family”. And in the time of the coronavirus, the prayer I hear most from children is “Please God take this coronavirus away” or “Please God protect others from the coronavirus.”
In the embodied practice of praying, children are opening themselves up to reveal their deep inner thoughts. Their prayers help us know what they are concerned about and what they are thankful for. Prayers are a way children embody hope and empower them to believe that they are not helpless victims but are connected to a higher power who can help others when we pray for them.