Body talk


“rejoice with those who rejoice”  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
A while back our evening ladies Bible study group spent about 3 months studying the different dimensions of the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23)

One of my lasting memories of this series is trying to discern the body posture that is best associated with a specific dimension of this multi-faceted fruit. Joy, for example, requires loose-fitting clothing, so you can move and extend your limbs; patience is a quiet, expectant trust; kindness is close, attentive other-centredness.

We experience and express these qualities in our bodies and in responding to the ‘body talk’ of other bodies around us.

Paul writes in Romans 12:15:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn.”

It’s quite easy to recognize the body postures that express these extreme emotional states. Sadly, strong emotions in others can form a barrier. Paul says, be brave and seek connection under all circumstances. And take advantage of occasions like weddings and funerals, natural opportunities for us to connect with others in their joy and sorrow and so strengthen bonds.

Not all ‘body talk’ is that obvious, but God has given us His Spirit, as well as eyes, ears, minds, hearts and bodies as antennae. Be curious. Be open to learn.

 

Pray for discernment to understand ‘body talk’ – both our own and the ‘body talk’ of the people around us – and pray for discernment and courage to respond appropriately, graciously and generously.


A prayer

O God, the source of our common life,
when we are dry and scattered,
when we are divided and alone,
we long for connection, we long for community,
Breath of God, breath on us.

With those we live beside,
who are often strange to us,
whom we may be afraid to approach,
yet who have riches of friendship to share,
we long for connection, we long for community,
Breath of God, breath on us.

With those we have only heard of,
who see with different eyes,
whose struggles we try to imagine,
whose fierce joy we wish we could grasp,
we long for connection, we long for community,
Breath of God, breath on us.

With those we shall never know,
but whose lives are linked with ours,
whose shared ground we stand on,
and whose common air we breathe,
we long for connection, we long for community,
Breath of God, breath on us.

When we are dry and scattered,
when we are divided and alone,
when we are cut off from the source of our life,
open our graves, O God,
that all your people
may be free to breathe, strong to move,
and joyful to stand together
to celebrate your name.

by Janet Morley
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #495

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