Tears sprang into my eyes, and I remembered one of the 1951-ers singing, “It’s my body, and I’ll cry if I want to,” her take-off of the 60s Lesley Gore hit. I’ve irrigated my ears many times over the years, but this was the first time it hurt. Dry skin in your ear canal, the doctor said. Dry, dry, dry. She recommended olive oil to lubricate, inside and out. Because I’m old.
Is it my body?
As we age, our bodies change, and our cries and laments won’t make any difference. We either toss out illusions of buff-and-beauty media standards—nobody really looks that way without Photoshop—revise our priorities, and learn to take care of ourselves. Or we don’t.
From our Bible study last Tuesday: “A lot of pagan philosophers [referring to the Greek Sophists of Paul’s time] believed and taught that every person was a king or queen—they had the potential—and they only had to discover that royal person in them. This is what pagan philosophers say today. Women, you are a goddess, a princess, a queen… this is who you really are.”
But what if we saw ourselves as children of God? Then our bodies would be so much more than our own.
Quoted from C.S. Lewis at Bible study: “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by an offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Am I giving my body away?
I read about sex trafficking and organ harvesting every day, and while I would never make light of such horrific practices, most of us are impacted by something even more insidious. Giving our minds away.
This is what first century Stoic philosopher Epictetus had to say about that. “If a person gave away your body to some passerby you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled. Have you no shame in that.” Our minds are part of our bodies, so why would we let others do our thinking for us or lead us astray?
Here is Paul’s guidance from Romans 6:13 (NLT): Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.
Am I using my whole body for God’s glory?
We experience many trials in this life, some of them horrific, like Paul’s ordeals or sex-trafficked children or people enslaved for different religious beliefs, their organs sold to those who’ve handed their minds over to evil.
There is much to lament when we potential goddesses lose our illusions. As the 1951-er cum Lesley Gore lyric says, “You will cry too when it happens to you.” But if we use our whole bodies as instruments for the glory of God, our hearts are full of joy no matter the circumstances. And the peace that we celebrated yesterday, the second Sunday of Advent, surrounds us.
Though not hearing very well yet, I sang with the church choir this past weekend—“Soon and Very Soon” starting about 16:30, I’m on the far right—and recorded a sweet arrangement of “Silent Night” (Love’s Pure Light) for The Perennial Gen.
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