Embodied faith

“From the beginning of the Bible to the end, God is intrinsically connected to matter.”

My professor ended his weekly devotional video with those words, and I can’t stop thinking about them. I think it’s because there’s such a temptation in modern Christianity to make our religion all about the head, or the heart, or the soul, all at the expense of the body — the flesh and bone and marrow and muscle, the tangible, the tactile, the physical. But ours is an embodied faith, displayed perfectly in an embodied Christ.

Our biblical arc begins in a garden and ends in a city. The ark of the covenant, which carried the very presence of God, will be seen when we inhabit the new heaven and new earth. Jesus healed with mud and spit, and all this reminds me that things and nature and objects — all of creation — bear the fingerprint of God. And, I believe, God somehow exists in them.

Why does it matter? Because if true, our walking-around, right-here and right-now lives matter so much more than we realize. Because if true, our planet, the very dust from which we were made, is sacred. Because if true, we are a beloved community that is part of a beloved creation. Because if true, redemption and salvation are not just for our souls but for our bodies and for our earth, too.

If God dwells in a wooden chest covered in gold, I imagine God also dwells in bread and wine and blood and breath and wind and trees and clay and songs and books and paint and fire and animals and tears and skin and me and you.