Photograph (c)2008 Lauralyn Bellamy
For the story of the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth on the 3rd day to have the foundational importance American Christians declare, we must recognize the primacy he and his immediate followers gave to being a man of flesh and blood.
Jesus embraced the gift of embodiment; the call to heal physical disease and suffering; to enjoy eating and drinking in ways that cherished participation in the beloved community of fellow Jews, observing the Mosaic dietary laws and the responsibility to feed his followers – not just spiritually, but literally!
The resurrection stories Luke recorded in the Acts of the Apostles all focus on the physically embodied Christ eating and drinking with his followers, placing "doubting" Thomas’ hand in the gash in his side made by a centurion as he hung on the cross…
Jesus of Nazareth hanging on the cross at Gethsemane.
See him as if you were Mary,his mother, or his beloved disciple, John, standing near the foot of the cross.
See the crown of thorns and the bloody tracks it has released.
See the linen diaper smudged where he stumbled and fell on the dirt as he carried his cross.
See the nails in his wrists and through his feet.
See him 100 lbs. overweight.
See his morbidly obese body sagging from the cross.
What is your first thought?
Your first feeling?
How would a morbidly obese Jesus affect your understanding of who he was then and now?
Would an obese Jesus change the way you regarded him? His teachings? His acts recorded in the gospels?
Why, when Jesus of Nazareth has been portrayed in works of art as white European, black African, olive-skinned Semite, almond-skinned Asian – even female (the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC has exhibited a larger-than-life statue of a "CHRISTA REGINA" hanging from the cross)!
– why have there been NO paintings and statues of a fat Jesus? What is the message that has been spontaneously, universally forwarded down through the ages in showing Jesus as a normally weighted human being?
And for those of us who regard him as our Way-shower, our Savior, our Guru, our Master Teacher, our Lord – are we not supposed to emulate him?
It’s not about "earning" the Christ’s approval or God’s love; both are unconditional to all who open their hearts to receive them.
If embodiment is not THE central focal point of God’s experiment in making the spirit flesh, what is?
So during the SEASON of Easter – yes, the Christian calendar regards Easter as 50 days long, ending with the gift of PENTECOST –
spend 5 minutes a day to contemplate the image of Jesus of Nazareth – alive, crucified, resurrected – in a normally-weighted body; and,
allow the spirit of Wisdom to teach you how to abide and dwell in peace in your own body.