The following Hymn of Divine Love by Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022) arrived in my email this morning.  Through embodied spiritual practices like yoga, moving meditation and body prayers, I have experienced the transformation he describes. Everything that was hurt, everything that once seemed to me “dark, harsh, shameful, maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged about my body,” has been transformed. The sagging places, the stretch marks, wrinkles and blemishes document the life I’ve lived. I am beloved in every part of my body,  just as I am.

My work is to pass this grace on so that the upcoming generations of young women and men will not live in fear and guilt or be ashamed of their bodies. That’s why I teach Christ-centered yoga, offer workshops on transforming your relationship with your body and other topics. In Christ we are free from shame, but too many Christians live their entire lives ashamed of some aspect of their physicality. I’m on a mission to change that!

Thanks be to God for Symeon’s wisdom that is a rich but neglected part of the Christian tradition.

Thanks be to God for the amazing grace of Christ that sets us free.

Thanks be to God for transformation worked in our lives to set us free.

And thanks be to God ahead of time for the freedom that will come through us to upcoming generations.

Hymn of Divine Love #15 by Symeon the New Theologian

We awaken in Christ’s body,
As Christ awakens our bodies
There I look down and my poor hand is Christ,
He enters my foot and is infinitely me.
I move my hand and wonderfully
My hand becomes Christ,
Becomes all of Him.
I move my foot and at once
He appears in a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous to you?
—Then open your heart to Him.
And let yourself receive the one
Who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
We wake up inside Christ’s body
Where all our body all over,
Every most hidden part of it,
Is realized in joy as Him,
And He makes us utterly real.
And everything that is hurt, everything
That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged
Is in Him transformed.
And in Him, recognized as whole, as lovely,
And radiant in His light,
We awaken as the beloved
In every last part of our body.

May each of us awaken to the radiance of God’s life living, moving and taking delight living through us today!

Amen.