Today’s blog is by my friend Cynthia McCabe. In the twelve years I have known Cynthia, I have been blessed, as I know others have been, by her positive energy, her exuberant joy, her creative imagination, and her full embrace of life! She has graciously agreed to let me share her words below, from a message she originally shared with the good people of Trinity United Methodist Church in Los Osos, California, a church I previously served for ten years.
Here are Cynthia’s words:
When I was invited to speak for Laity Sunday and given the topic of “How has my gift affected my faith?” I had to stop and think – what is my gift? Let’s see… I’m a successful massage therapist, hmmm… a yoga teacher,… hmmm… I love to sing, but it’s debatable whether it’s a gift or not. What is my gift? Well… I realized after some contemplation that my gift happens to be the same as yours. Or at least the same as one of your gifts, because I happen to think most of us have a few gifts. This gift that I think we have in common is the gift of embodiment.
There is no debate here…. we all have bodies, some tall, some thin, some short, some stout – we all have been given a body in which to live this life and through which to experience Divine Grace. In fact, I have heard it said that our embodiment is a direct expression of Divine Love, that God delights in us so much that we were given bodies with which to delight in creation. And, of course, Christ is the highest gift of embodiment of Divine Love and like him, we are made in the image of God. Spirit and flesh made one.
OK! So… back to the original question. How has my gift affected my faith? From my point of view as a person who has made it her professional career to deal with embodied people, this is an important question. First of all, I have to admit that MY body can be sort of hard to ignore. It makes noises and has sensations and carries me and sometimes doesn’t want to. What would I be without embodiment? What would you be without embodiment?
I happen to think that my body directly reveals to me, on a daily basis, a lot of information about how I am walking in this journey of faith.
I am frequently amazed at how easy it is for me to forget that I am a direct expression of God’s Love. I am frequently amazed at how easy it is to become superficial and distracted by the pulls of the world, I identify with things that are changeable, AND I forget to see embodied Love in my neighbor.
But my commitment to embodiment reminds me how important it is to pay attention, to remember, to slow down, to stop each day and to put the breaks on my life so that I can REMEMBER. My commitment to embodiment helps me to come home to connectedness, to feel my breath, to listen, to wonder, to appreciate.
What am I listening for? For the spirit moving inside, to the pulsation of life that is constantly moving within me, in and out, in and out. By remembering (and by the way, have you ever thought about that word REMEMBERING? RE – MEMBERING, bringing our members back together), I am listening to the truth of “I am created in the image of God.”
This is core truth, unchanging, eternal, constant … I breathe in, I breathe out … and I begin to remember and to identify with that unchanging presence of God. I empty myself of the distractions, the pulls, the past, the future, the grudges, the resentments, and OPEN TO GRACE. To something bigger than the limited consciousness that says I am the center of the universe.
This then becomes my renewed foundation – standing firm in the knowledge that I am held by Grace. That even when I forget, Grace holds me and never lets go….. and so I practice remembering – that God resides in every layer of my being, and in every layer of your being and it is our job to figure out…. How can I be of service in this moment with this gift of embodiment?
God has chosen freely to be embodied as me – God has chosen freely to be embodied as you. WHAT AN AMAZING GIFT!
In the words of an author and yogi that I admire, Stephen Cope, “In order for anyone to live a life of meaning and purpose, each one of us must (1) identify and recognize our unique gift and (2) share it … if you don’t, it’s as good as not even having one.”
The gift is free and it is our responsibility to bring it to the world. In order to know that gift we must take time to soften, to listen, to re-member, to breathe and to open to Grace (OFTEN). And then … we must trust that the gifts that we have been given are exactly what the world needs!