Preparing for Worship – Abbey Adcox.
Embodiment. I’m sure you’ve heard the word thrown around recently. On the surface, it’s a buzzword, the next new thing. In its truest sense, however, embodiment explores the relationship between our physicality and our energy, the interaction of our body, thoughts and actions. It’s a way for us to stay grounded in our experiences by using the body, the breath or any of our senses to connect to the present moment.
I spent the past week with our Youth Choir on our annual mission tour. We spent the week singing, sightseeing and serving in San Francisco. This trip felt different than last year’s trip for me. I felt more present; I was intentional in being mindful of where my head and heart were as we moved through our days. I can easily get lost in the details or in what’s to come, so I was grateful when Ty, our summer student ministry intern, reminded us to pay particular attention to our senses this week as we served.
As we moved through our days, I noticed the different input each of my senses was receiving. I noticed the light streaming through stained glass windows in a church, the dappled sunlight filtering through the leaves of towering redwoods, fluorescent lighting illuminating a dining hall in a rescue mission. I heard voices raised in worship, the whispers of our youth as they marveled at the grandeur of nature and the shuffling of feet as unhoused neighbors received a meal.
Some sensory experiences weren’t as pleasant. The smells and traffic noise of the city, the outburst of a client in the dining hall, the pleas of those living on the streets — those were difficult smells and sounds to process.
At each of our mission sites, we were reminded to honor the dignity of each individual we encountered, reminded that, more than the food they received or the clothing they selected, each person needed to be seen. Eye contact, looking into the eyes of God’s beloved, was crucial.
Whether in the Tenderloin district or in the pews this morning, wherever we are, I pray that we are always practicing presence. It is the practice of a lifetime. Truly seeing those we encounter is perhaps the most profound way we can emulate Jesus’ presence among us.
Take a moment to pause this morning, take a deep breath, check in with your senses and center yourself in the moment for worship.