Thursday, August 03, 2006

Love And Care For All Of You

As we head into autumn and back-to-school time, it behooves even the cleric to think of the fall as a new start. No matter how chronologiclaly distant we are from living within the rhythms of the school year, the Fall Equinox and the Jewish High Holy Days give pagans and monotheists an equal opportunity to reconsider how we're living and how we'd like to serve our Lord from a deeper, stronger and more beautiful place.

How will you head into the fall in terms of beauty and public persona?

Have you cleaned out your closet in the past few years? I mean REALLY cleaned it out? Been willing to part with (or have tailored) even slighty stained t-shirts, comfortably drab and sagging garments, favorite oldies that strain at the seams or fall off, bags whose straps are frayed and cracked, and literally holy socks and shoes? If you haven't been willing to do so, you are embracing poverty not as a spiritual virtue but as a character flaw, and making a passive aggressive visual statement about how unvalued you feel. And that's ugly.

Have you looked at yourself naked lately, taken a good honest look, been to the doctor, and honestly assessed how you're treating your Temple? Have you gone beyond the numbers of weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate and pulse, T-cells, et al to ask yourself, "How do I feel in my body? Do we have a good relationship? Am I giving my body enough fresh air, rest, good food, movement, laughter, sex, joy, freedom? Am I cherishing this good gift well enough?

Does my physical exterior serve as an honest and appropriate representation of the state of my soul? If I look and feel shabby, can my spirit be far behind?

Have I cleared out poisonous chemical foods from my cabinet, thrown away dead spices, expired vitamins and medications, and changed the water filter lately? Am I giving myself facials with products that were given to me three Christmases ago and now have a thick layer of bacteria on the lid of the jar, because I was loath to use the gift as soon as I received it?

Am I bathing every day in a tub that I haven't scrubbed in months, trying to get clean among soap scum and mold? Why? "

Friends, we are soldiers in the army of the Lord. I know some of you may shudder at the militance of that statement, but it's Biblical and I embrace it. Our weapons in the fight are love and compassion, strength of spirit, joy, beauty, humor, and faith.
Those weapons are not instantly at our disposal simply for the wishing. We must clothe ourselves in this armor with intentionality and confidence, believing ourselves worthy to wear it. We cannot do this by slogging around entirely in our heads, regarding our bodies merely as containers for our big, impressive brains and stubbornly insisting on projecting hostility to an aesthetic sensibility shared by most of the world.

From head to toe, you are a vessel of God. It is not frivolous or selfish to love and care for the feet that take you walking through your parishes. It is not selfish or frivolous to ove and care for the arms that you wrap around the grieving. It is not frivolous or selfish to love and care for the face that shines on your people with the message of love and grace your words can never fully express. It is not frivolous or selfish to love and care for your hands, that do the work of Love both menial and mighty, or to vigilantly guard, love and care for your good hearts, that bear so much care on behalf of others. It is not overly luxurious or sinfully sensuous to love and care for all your epidermis, that clothes the miracle of what lies underneath. It is no sin to know who you are and care well and unapologetically for all of it, in the knowledge of Whose you are.

Go ye and groom ye to the high office to which you are called.

3 Comments:

Blogger Caroline Divine said...

Hurrah and very fine. The Epistle of PeaceBang to Those Called. PREACH, SISTA!

In health, love, justice, and elegance,

C.Div.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Aola said...

PeaceBang, you have changed the way I think about myself and I'm so glad I found you.
I do believe if I lived in Boston you would have to be my minister... well, maybe you are anyway.

Thanks again for being you in such a beautiful way.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was taking the Women in Ministry class when I was in divinity school, we never discussed fashion. I should have pressed the issue.

I am a stay at home mom now, and sadly my fashion is stay at home mom--t-shirts and jeans all the time. But over the past few months, you are becoming my hero. I am steadily making changes. The braces come off my teeth on Wednesday, and I'll also get my hair cut and styled for the first real time in ages. And I refuse to buy anymore t-shirts. I want to appear professional now that I am beginning to search for a pastorate.

Thank you for your blog. It should be required reading for all divinity students and ministers.

4:22 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home