“Do this in remembrance of me.”
The Body of Christ
Remembering Jesus is quite a natural part of Christianity, is it not?
We’re literally invited to do so in one of the sacraments wherein we partake of his body (however the various Christian stripes do so). We talk about Christ’s birth, relationships, death, legacy…sometimes we even go so far as to create images of our Christ.
Naturally, we want to see ourselves in God and God in ourselves. There’s discussion of the imago Dei, the image of God, fashioned in each being. We have theological disagreements about who is included in that image.
At the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, one can see many types of mosaics from all around the world depicting Mary and Jesus. A simple journey through the courtyard reveals generations of folks identifying Jesus who looks like they do.
As we come to that, I’m curious what image comes to your mind? “Who do you say that I am?” What does Jesus look like? Describe him.
In today’s U.S. society, images are constantly swirling around us, especially of the body image variety. We are inundated with glimpses of bodies with beautiful skin, hair, features, sizes, ages, races, national origin, gender identities and presentation.
This includes the changes in what bodies are perceived as the “norm.”
Issues surround the body…sexualizing, racism, gender presentations, assumptions, worth.
What happens when society values some bodies over others?
I’ve created Jesus in a different image. I’ll leave you with this:
Did his arms and legs go numb from hanging on the cross?
Did his feet swell from walking to/fro?
Did he have bloodied blisters from the sandals?
Did his muscles fatigue under the weight of the cross?
Did he collapse in prayer or collapse to pray?
Did he sleep and rest for days at a time between his journeys?
Did he refuse dishes at the Last Supper because they’d harm the body of Christ?
Did he ever sit at the table only to realize from his chair he couldn’t read the lips of those further down?
Did he have a wheelchair at the height of the table?
Did he rely on the disciples to care for him as he wrestled to get out of bed day after day?
Did he ever drop and shatter a host’s most precious pottery when his hands gave way?
Did his side release his lymph?
Did he have an extra chromosome?
Did he lie awake at night both exhausted and yet anxious at what the world may become?
Did his own body betray him?
Did he need Braille to read the Torah?
Did he forget his tasks?
Did he stop mid-sent..?
Communion could be literally one table for all the world. Communion could be a place of honoring our uniqueness before God.
Communion could be all inclusive.
Friends, I need a disabled Jesus.
I need to see him in my experience of the world. I need to see the beauty of humanity and all her diversity in God.
Maybe I’m wrong. Or maybe we could deconstruct our images of the physical Christ.
Heather Moore (she/her) is a native Appalachian, millennial, nerd/gamer, and serial hobbyist who specializes in thinking and writing outside of the institutional box, calling out injustices, and coming alongside people in the messy beauty and quagmire of life.