The church is called the “body of Christ”, yet the church has not always been known for its positive relationship with the body of human flesh. And yet, it was human flesh that Jesus, the Son of God, chose to embrace in the drama of redemption. There are Jewish dietary laws, Hindu dietary laws but not so with Christianity. In fact Christianity sometimes prides itself on not being bound to laws and restrictions. The celebration of Easter with a ham somehow seems like a boast or reaction to the Jewish celebration of Passover and their concern over pork. After so many wonderful times of worship there is what Christians often call “coffee hours” of fellowship. A friend once jokingly called this drink the “Christian speed”.
And for all the receptions I have attended, after worshiping the God of the incarnation, it seems that sugar and salt are the predominant foods that adorn the table. And the covered dish suppers are not always known for their healthy demonstrations of nutrition, but rather inexpensive and easy cook pastas and sauces and desserts. During the penitential season of lent when so many churches offer church suppers, I am always amazed at the number of exotic and diverse sweets that emerge upon the food table. These are the foods that people are more likely to eat. A plate of vegetables is not often fought over at a reception, unless of course there is a very rich dip alongside.
In sharing with other clergy ideas for sermons we sometimes have noticed that sexual images or experiences oftentimes can be the clearest or expressive ways of speaking about or describing worship with God. The Song of Songs is a great example of this understanding. But whenever a comparison is made amongst us clergy, someone will state the obvious that there is no way one could, nor should, ever us that in the pulpit. The Christian faith is not always known for its delight, openness, and creativity in regards to sexuality. In fact a more prudish, non communicative, guilt ridden experience of sex is more often the norm. Celebrating the body has not been a Christian strength, as the misuse and abuse of sex and diet so often cause us to drift from our relationship with God. Why then do we encourage bad diets and do not offer positive discussion of our bodies and relationships? As a faith that is the body of Christ, I think we should be much more expert on our understanding and living in our own bodies, as temples of the Holy Spirit.