Embodied Spirituality and the Physicality Of Worship

front-hands-against-skyOne of the most beautiful ideas we are exploring this week in our Masters In Worship Studies and Spiritual Formation class is the idea of “embodied spirituality.” Contributing friend Jeremy Begbie, Ph.D. of Duke University, through his book Behold The Glory and his DVD work at Augustine College, led us into rich reflections on the topic. (We have beautiful webinars on Theology And The Arts with Jeremy in our Media Archive at WorshipTraining.com).

Embodied Spirituality
In this vision of faith, we see ourselves always alive to “be the message” that we are empowered to communicate. Our songwriting, leadership, parenting and creativity are considered central means by which we bear the truths we hope to convey to the world.

No longer is our life of worship lived in categories, leaving one world to the side while another world is tended. Embodied spirituality means that our followership of Jesus is injected into every sphere of life, and every sphere of life is therefore lived sacramentally – as an act of living worship before God.

While this may not be a completely new thought to many of us, it is a thought that bears repeating, and bears a constant prayer rising before God for His empowering to live in such a way that Jesus’ teaching has evidently permeated every sphere of our daily thoughts, choices, actions and relationships.

The Body As An Instrument Rather Than A Cage
We reflected on how dance can “embody” spirituality in a very unique way, in that our physical bodies are not seen to be cages limiting our spirituality, but rather as instruments to express and voice our spirituality.

This led us to reflect, in our multi-denominational group, on the ways that we have allowed our own spirituality to be expressed through the instrument of our body.

For some, dance and movement has proved to be very important to their sense of wellness and wholeness. For others, stories of expressing prayer through physical expression were connected with and shared. Derek Morphew’s Restoration Of Celebration articles were referenced, on the integration of dance into the Jewish and rabbinical lifestyle throughout history.