“This is my Body Broken for You” says the Christ, Jesus,
Son of refugees, who had to flee a tyrant’s rage to Egypt.
“This is my Body Broken for You” says Jesus
Son of a pregnant single–not to mention brown–girl, who had to decide who she would tell that she was pregnant, and plot how to handle it.
Adopted child of a manual laborer, someone who grew up in the middle of nowhere, this is the guy who is naming his own brokenness.
“This is my Body Broken for You” Says Jesus Christ, human being, who carries within his flesh the cellular memory of a people who has withstood historic trauma. Which no doubt manifested itself in some of the very diseases that Jesus was sought to heal.
Was it the woman with the hemorrhage? Those who were susceptible to leprosy? Was it those who were lame? Which diseases were more likely, more prominent because of trauma? What role did war and malnutrition and refugee status play upon the genetic spectrum of Jesus, son of Mary, descendent of Tamar, Rahab, Bathsheba and Ruth? All women who dealt with huge trauma within their lives.
“Do this” do what? Police women’s bodies? Tell women to be pure and unsexual? Feel like you can comment endlessly on the Pastor’s weight and appearance? Worry more about people’s gender roles and sexual status than if they are hungry or beloved or cared for?
Definitely not. Jesus came from a line that stands in direct opposition to the idea of perfect bodies.
There no such thing as purity in Jesus’s line.
Look at the people in Jesus’s lineage. Look at who Jesus embodies. Tamar who is the vehicle for inheritance and has to conceive again after her first son dies. Rahab, the smart sex worker who hides Jordan so they can return to overtake Jericho. Bathsheba victim of rape, and Ruth adoptive member of the Hebrew faith who becomes true heart/found family with her mother in law Naomi.
The Pastoral is Political because when Jesus says “My body is broken,” we know the true stories of how bodies can be broken.
The Pastoral is Political because when Jesus says “do this” we know that this command is to feed and care one another in love, particularly when one’s body is not doing what one wants to.
When one is sick.
Or unexpectedly pregnant.
Or needs to hide from danger.
Or is starving.
In these circumstances, we are commanded to feed and care for one another.
Not because we are perfect, or our bodies are perfect, or we even have all of the answers in a particular situation.
We care for one another to lessen to the trauma. To start the healing. To nourish one another.
We do this.
“In remembrance of me.”
Katy Stenta is a solo pastor at a tiny Presbyterian church that is bigger on the inside in Albany, NY since 2010 and blogs prayers & Narrative Lectionary at http://www.katyandtheword.com She is also the co-founder of the fledgling TrailPraisers inclusive Worship. When she is not dreaming up projects and ideas, some of which creep into the church, she plays with her three boys-boys or goes and visits her husband at the library, while he works, to read.
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