The Sacredness of the Lived Body

by Mark Votava


When I have very little imagination in my body it seems I am not free and alive.  I sometimes struggle to have a correct view of my body.  I have at times been told that the body is bad and “sinful.”  But I am coming to see that the body is a gift from God and the holder of all imagination.

  • The ecology of life

Our bodies are meant to be lived in which connects us to the ecology of life in a neighborhood.  All of life is connected.  Nothing can escape the body.  It is how we experience our lives together in all our commonality and diversity.  The mystical imagination connects us to an embodied faith in our bodies. 

  • The lived body

Our locality and our bodies need one another.  The body longs for God in a particular place.  Esther Lightcap Meek says, “The primary phenomenon of human persons is the lived body…”  The lived body is how we experience our salvation together as the body of Christ in the parish.

  • The body is the holder of imagination

There is no life outside of the lived body.  There is no truth outside of the lived body.  If our bodies are not lived in, we are dead even though we are still breathing and walking.  The body is sacred, unique, beautiful, mystical, powerful, intuitive, intelligent and is the holder of all imagination.

  •  Created in the image of God

We need our bodies desperately to live and experience sanity.  We need to see the body as being created in the image of God.  The body can be used for good purposes and work within our everyday lives in the parish.  The lived body is meant to embody our redemption throughout our days.

  • Relational and interdependent

Our bodies are a gift from God and it is a mistake to take them for granted.  Our bodies identify with the ecology of life intuitively.  They have a power beyond what we can sometimes understand.  They are relational and interdependent on others.

  • A new view of the body

Craig G. Bartholomew says in his book Where Mortals Dwell, “Recovery of place requires a new view of the body…”  The body is extremely sacred in every dimension of life.  The body is created by God to be used for intentional purposes of love, grace, humility, shared life, embodiment, kindness, nonviolence and imagination.  The body is meant for life, is the receiver of life, is the expression of life and the proof of life.

  • Connected and rooted in place

There is no substitute for the lived body that is connected and rooted in place.  We have become a displaced, disembodied, dislocated society that rejects the potential and limitations of the body.  Our potential is in the imagination of men and women.  Our limitations protect us from exploitation and colonialism.

How have you experienced living into your body?