Monday, June 25, 2018

this is my body

As I watch the priest lift the host, a strange breath runs through the church, and its wind reaches the corners of my abdominal cavity as well, reaching down the nerves in my spine to my toes. I feel my own body ache under me, as muscles pull my knee in contesting directions and strain at my groin. Against my own volition, even, she is being offered, a fragile offering of twenty-something fat and skin, rapidly losing the carefully curated muscle of the school year, up to a God of unknown cause.

Where is she being taken, and for whom?

Across an ocean, another hip muscle throbs a pain in time with hers. This is not the sort of communion which we signed up for, but isn't this the communion at the heart of the liturgy which is celebrated here? One man's pain, so long ago, becomes the heart of our existence. What does it mean to eat his flesh other than to write out his pain on our own bodies? To begin to feel the cuts and bruises of his wounds as deeply as though they are our own, mapped out on our own bodies, seeping through our blood.

Absence is a sickening reality. Perhaps our bodies tell us what our brains would otherwise ignore: that the essence of well-being is being-with, and we are fools to think that we can entrust ourselves to someone else, hand over to them what it means to be fully ourselves, alive, and flourishing, and still possess a hermetically-sealed physical hale and heartiness.

What is resurrection other than being-with? Being together in an eternal memory which encompasses all of history. The only way to resurrection is through the cross, and as the host is lifted onto my tongue, as I cradle it with dirty hands, I eat both what will bring me pain, and—this is the dare of faith—new life.


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