The Rev. Kerri Clark shared the following message with her congregation and on her blog in the final days of 2020. We want to share her wisdom and encouragement.
As 2021 begins, we’re already being inundated with messages about new year’s resolutions, weight loss, and diet plans. Our holiday feasting is labeled as an indulgence, and even sinful, and we are made to feel guilty about, or at least apologetic for, the weight we carry or the state of our bodies in general. The reality, however, is most often not about wellness, but rather money. The diet and exercise industry is hugely profitable, taking advantage of our feelings of discontent and shame about our bodies.
So – here’s your annual reminder that you don’t need to change your body in order to be worthy of love. You are made in God’s image and called good and beloved just as you are. Your body doesn’t need to be able, or healthy, or a certain size to be worthy of love, compassion, and care. Your weight and health are not indications of your goodness, morality, or anything else.
The incarnation is God’s declaration that our bodies are good. We celebrate that Jesus was fully God and fully human. He was not a deity pretending to be human, wearing skin like an ill-fitting costume. Instead, he was born among us with a body like ours, that grew and moved and experienced both joy and pain.
We celebrate all the ways that Jesus’ ministry was embodied – all the meals he ate with his friends; food provided for hungry bellies, and encouragement for hungry hearts; the times he noticed and touched those whose bodies were broken or in pain; when he wept at the death of his friend; when his own body was lovingly anointed and prepared for burial. We give thanks for his resurrected body, which still bore the marks and scars of his life and death, and which promised that our bodies will be resurrected, too.