This is my body

May 2, 2022 | Author: Janet McKinney

I want to challenge you about your perceptions of the bodies of people with disabilities who are followers of Christ.

Should they be hidden away from the church and cared for with loving kindness and dignity, and given all they need for survival? Or can they thrive in the Kingdom of God and His church and be visible in all their broken glory representing the beauty and perfection of our glorious Saviour?

Are they deficient because of their impairments and so no longer of use to the King of Kings as his bride? Should they be pitied and ashamed of their brokenness, and kept out of the way of others – especially those who are outside the Church and wanting to know whether it is worth finding a spiritual reality in the Christian religion?

Well, I am here to tell you that at long last, I love this beautiful body of mine. I respect it and honour it and think it is one of the bravest and strongest bodies I know.

For many years, I hated my body. It let me down all the time, and I had no control over my weight. I remember talking with a Pastor saying how I wish I could just be a soul and spirit without a body. His challenge was: How was I going to have a resurrected body if I had no physical body. Hmm.

Then over the years, I came to understand my body, and that when it let me down, it had no choice: It was merely responding to defective genes. But it doesn’t matter why our bodies begin to let us down – from birth, because of an accident or the consequences of having the privilege to live a long life. My body didn’t let me down – it just couldn’t function properly.

Then I started to thank my body for being what it is, I admired it for keeping me going all these years despite the disadvantages it had suffered. I think I have the most remarkable body and I love it for carrying on despite all that has happened to it. In fact, all the things I love about being me could never happen except for my wonderful body.

My body houses and keeps alive my brain. I am a learner, thinker, dialogue lover, reader and writer. All of this would be stolen from me except that my beautiful body continues to function. Thank you body for allowing me to think.

Without this body, I could never experience the joy of creativity. Being creative is one of the ways that we as humans reflect the nature of our creator God. Everyone has the spark of creativity in them, but some struggle to grasp how it is revealed in their personhood.

Our bodies allow us to have relationships with other human beings which brings a depth of meaning and joy to life. One thing this time of COVID has taught us is that we are lesser when we are deprived of relationships in the flesh. Our bodies allow us to share the joy of those relationships not only sexually, but also through the closeness of a touch, the healing of a hug and the joy of seeing the nature of God revealed in children.

My body allows me to enjoy music. Sometimes I soar with the majesty of God’s work (How great thou art). At other times I hear the still small voice of God whispering into my spirit: you are loved, you are mine. I enjoy the beauty of a deep baritone, the powerful mezzo or the pure sweet soprano of the unbroken young boy’s voice. Or I can join together with others and make a joyful noise to the Lord. At times, music can take me “away with the fairies” where I enter into the presence of God, and express my love for Him, and know His love for me.

Most significantly, my body allows my spirit to live and respond to the almighty love God has for his world, his creation, and for me. If my body had not continued to function through hard times, I would never have come to know that deep all-accepting love of God for me and know the majesty of when he comes to me week by week and says, “This is my body, broken for you – take, eat, and as you do, remember me.

We are so much more than our body, prefect or broken. But it remains the bedrock of actually experiencing all other aspects of a full and fulfilling life. 

About Janet McKinney

Janet McKinney’s life changed profoundly six years ago when the gradual deterioration of her body due to the genetic condition, Ehlers Danlos, stole the last of her capacity for pain-free mobility. After a fall in July 2019, she was hospitalised and accepted she will never stand on her own feet again. Janet is learning the joy of being ministered to by others and relying on the generosity of taxpayers (NDIS) to perform even life’s most basic functions. She worships with the Anglican community in Canberra.

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