By The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

Have you noticed your relationship to your body change as we’ve moved through different phases of this pandemic? Maybe it’s fear that every cough potentially signals coronavirus infection? Or maybe you’ve found yourself online, sitting in the same chair all day long, and have new aches and pains? Or you’re eating more? Or eating out less? Or drinking more? Or drinking less? Maybe you’ve had chances to take your body more seriously: exercise has become a constant companion when before your life made regular workout routines less possible? 

I think the poem below offers us a prayer for our bodies, an entryway into remembering that our bodies belong to God, that our bodies tell a story, that our bodies are holy and imprinted by the presence of God, that our bodies can be a prayer to the One in whom we live and move and have our being. 

May this poem be a prayer for your body today (or, maybe more poignantly, the body of someone you love).


Let us pray:

Your body
is a holy book,
a scripture—

the pages
of your flesh
are marked
in exquisite detail
with the finest hand,

inscribed by spirit
with the poetry
of love,
lessons of mercy,
angelic hosts,

and the story
of your life
perfectly told,

an illuminated manuscript
of a sacred writing
epic in scope,
and grace.

Every hair
on your head
and line on your face,
every rushing tide
of wind and wave
moving you
from within
this living testament
bear witness
to the truth
within you—

Study this text
with conviction then,
reflect with care
upon its meaning,
and enjoy
the divine
—Gil Hedley