What do you do when dark things break up from the deep inside of you, unpermitted and uninvited? When a deep need screams up raw from the buried places that you have done everything to quiet, tame, & ignore… how do you meet it? What do you do when all of your best strategies, your best knowledge, your very best try out of your very best motivations all falter, stuttering a little, flickering like a wax laden wick?
We try to be all mind and heart… but we are hands too. We are bodies. We are animals after all. Not above the fabric of nature. We are chemicals and cells and receptors and uptake and release. It’s the artistic material of Connection. It’s the medium of Communion. It’s the clay of the potter. Not ever, ever to be denied. The stuff we are made of matters. Isn’t that the massive, overwhelming, essential message of Advent and Christmas… that Matter Matters to God? That somehow entering into the physical experience is utterly essential to redeeming it?
We nurse our young and it does real chemical connection things, bonding us. Lashing our substance into one another.
We press our eyes close to our mates, face to face, ridiculously close. An absurd act. Intimacy. It is absurd. But it does real physical things that make us One, defending us from the distractions of others, pressing our souls and bodies into one another. Protecting the unit.
We fellowship through story telling and laugher, song, shared experience, eating and drinking. We commune around the Table with pizza and beer… and while we look at each other and smile and cry, we integrate our bodily substance with the people around us and form tribes. United.
It is material stuff. It is nature unvarnished. And it is beautiful. Science. The tapestry of a Universal Master Weaver who has his hands intimately in the threads, binding and releasing. It is not to be shunned. Never to be rejected. It is to be marveled at and listened to. A beacon pointing us in the direction of the Maker’s heart. And broken though the beacon may be, the light is still shining through. If we’re looking carefully.
So when something screams up from the deep inside of our irrepressible and ever-human heart… we must listen. Because Body is woven forever into the fabric of soul. Material is mingled irrevocably with the substance of spirit.
We are Incarnate. At some point we cannot deny it any more. And real magic happens there… because the gospel can only come fully to life In The Flesh.
Life is the bodily experience of my soul’s journey.
If my experience with Anxiety has taught me anything it is that we cannot separate our bodies from our spiritual experience. Denial of the Wholeness of our selves can only last so long before we break.
Maybe this is the core heart of Advent… the coming In The Flesh-ness. Maybe this is how we prepare our hearts to receive a coming Incarnate God… by sinking and settling into our bodies. By realizing that we are substance and soul mingled. By centering ourselves in the reality of our physical experience and what that reality means for the story. Listening to our own nature… and maybe hearing our nature is groaning. All is not well.
Then knowing this one wild, out of bounds thing: God will go right into our messy, integrated, woven, substance-soul experience to heal it. He will enter right in to make it whole. He will take it into his very being to renew. In the flesh.