50 Days of Embodiment
Living the Great Story in Daily Life
“Embodiment” simply means a tangible or visible form of an idea, quality, or feeling; the representation or expression of something in a tangible or visible form.
Living into our faith as Christians has always been a full body experience.
Below you’ll find some spiritual practices that can help us embody our faith more fully in The Great Story we are writing with our lives.
Here’s a quick link straight to the details and directions on how to do various embodiment practices.
Being human is not the same thing as thinking.
We believe that Jesus Christ physically, bodily rose from the dead, and so shall all those that are in Christ. God does not create us as separated bodies, minds, and souls. That division is alien to scripture and leads us only to anxiety, unhappiness, and disease. Indeed, in the church we call that separation “sin.”
We are instead holistic, integrated, created beings, literally creatures, who are being perfected and completed by and through the Holy Spirit.
Our reductionist, achievement-focused habits have blinded us to this simple original truth: We do not “have” bodies; we are bodies. And as embodied creatures we are loved, redeemed, and transformed by our creator.
The ongoing revelation of God through The Great Story, from Moses through the prophets and down through Jesus, leads us back again and again to unity and community. God’s law, Torah, has never been a list of things we must achieve in order to go to heaven. It is instead a guide for how to live as a healthy human being, living in healthy relationships with God and other people.
As Christians, we believe in the possibility of life before death. But that life requires attention and intention. To live as God’s people requires practice.
Christians in general and Protestants in particular have tended to forget this. We have often reduced living into God’s saving grace down to believing certain assertions. Jesus’s ultimate concern is not with our personal opinions about him. His ultimate concern is with healing and transforming all life. What we believe about God is far less important than who we are in God, because our opinions about God are probably wrong (this is God we are talking about), and our thoughts are far less influential in shaping our lives than our daily lived choices around what we do.
This summer for 50 days of the Season of Pentecost, we are inviting you to participate in some of these practices — the simple, daily, lived actions of faith that have unfolded from The Great Story down through the centuries. These are not tasks to be completed — they are touchstones of a healthy life well lived. What we do changes our perceptions, our feelings, and our physical bodies. What we do changes our world.
So, if you want to change your world, if you want to experience life before death, we have been given a rich treasury of possibilities.
Not everything will appeal to everyone. We are all made and attuned differently. This is a list of invitation into abundance, not obligations and duties.
We invite you to try at least one of the practices of Christian living that we have gleaned from our tradition and included in this booklet. Doing just one thing consistently over time will probably be more impactful than trying a dozen sporadically, but we encourage you to follow the Spirit and listen to your body as you make your choices. What matters most is consistency, because it is the consistency that changes first us and then our world.
So, why not give it a try?
Opening Reflection Questions
Let’s start with a few reflection questions for your consideration. We encourage you to write responses in your journal or a notebook, or there are some blank pages at the end of this booklet for reflections on these questions and/or any of the practices you choose.
1. Our first thoughts when invited into a new practice can often be:
I don’t have time
I don’t have space
I don’t know how to do it correctly.
If that’s you, you are in good company. Name what your knee-jerk reaction is and see if you can go beneath that to understand it.
2. Silence, solitude, and/or stillness: Which of these three best helps facilitate your awareness of your own body?
3. Which practices tend to provoke some resistance in you? Oftentimes, these can be the most transformative. How willing are you to try something a couple of times that is new and a bit uncomfortable? Notice the difference between what provokes fear and embarrassment and what practices simply don’t align with your values or aren’t accessible for your body. (Not all practices work equally well for everyone in helping us to connect with God and ourselves.)
Reflect After a Practice
After you’ve tried a practice here, we invite you to take some time to reflect: What did you notice or feel in your body as you experienced this practice?
We invite you to write your reflections in your journal or a notebook.
50 Days of Observation (with sample reflections).
May you experience the presence of God in new ways during these 50 Days of Embodiment!
Breathing Practices (click / tap each section title for details and directions)
- Yahweh Prayer
- Other Breath Prayers
- I Love You Prayer
- The Lord’s Prayer
- The Jesus Prayer & Recitation Prayers
- The Shema
- Gratitude Prayer
- Gratitude In the Body Guided Meditation
- Welcoming Prayer
Observational Practices / Mindfulness
- 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Practice
- Sound Bathing
- Sensory Attention
- Walking Meditation
- Prayer Labyrinth
- I Am Here Prayer
The Rev. April Blaine, Lead Pastor, Hilliard United Methodist Church
The Rev. Dr. Brian Maguire, Lead Pastor, Fairmont Presbyterian Church
The Rev. Jon Osmondson, Associate Pastor, Hilliard UMC
The Rev. Kelley Weymeyer Shinn, Associate Pastor, Fairmont Presbyterian Church
Ginny Fisher, Hilliard UMC
Beth Palmer, Director of Adult Discipleship, Hilliard UMC
Jenny Pitcher, RDLD, Hilliard UMC