“God will save God’s people on that day… They will sparkle in God’s land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!” – Zechariah 9:16-17
A good friend was in therapy for a debilitating situational depression. After a few months of treatment, there was less pressure in her chest, more songs she could listen to all the way through. But the depression was deep, and her progress was slow.
Each week she would walk to her appointment along the banks of the Charles River where on warm days Harvard undergrads lolled in various states of dress and undress, sunning themselves, tossing Frisbees, preening, laughing, and seducing each other with unapologetic sensuality. All this she would see through a lusterless haze. Everything gray, everyone blurred, voices muffled and distorted, underwater.
And she couldn’t bear them, those children, their youth and their joy. The pleasure they took in their bodies cut her. Their flesh was repulsive, a blasphemy.
Then one day she saw them, and they gleamed. Their light didn’t sting her eyes. Their laughter made her own heart sing. Their flesh was so beautiful it made her cry. And she loved them, loved their bodies and their joy, loved their life, their lust, their immodest abandon. She almost fell to her knees, adoring.
On the day she loved their bodies, she knew she was well. She knew she was whole when life in the body—in every body of every kind—became for her again a parted sea, a burning bush, a holy of holies. She knew she was saved the day all flesh made manifest the Glory.
Save us in the body, through the body, by the body, O God who took one for yourself. Amen.
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.