Friday, December 5, 2008

Pleasure in Our Body's Goodness

From the first Sunday of our Advent series, Flesh: Anticipation of Incarnation by Joey Tomassoni:

Perhaps God himself desired to experience what we experience--the goodness (of creation) in it’s fullness.  God knew the pleasurable capacities we were created to have and God created the good things we are to enjoy. God created both the tart pomograntate and the tongue for its tasting.  He created the Northern Lights and the eyes that are in awe.  He created the Thunder and the ears to hear its roaring sound.

And as Jesus himself walked the earth he ate, he drank, he took pleasure in the goodness of the Creation. His incarnate body and its ability to sense and experience.  Consider the time when the incarnate God, Christ was anointed by a prostitute at Bethany.

It was He, after all, who in the beginning of all things created the scent of the perfume that would be broken and poured over His tired, earth covered feet, the same dirt he formed from nothing.  And he created the aroma spreading through the room that every person could sense, to some it wasn’t functional, the perfume could have been sold and given to help the poor and why this woman, after all she was bad, evil, a prostitute, a whore. 

Her body had been used for things unspeakable, a vessel of lust and receptor and transmitter of sin.  Yet to others, namely the incarnate one, the Christ, she was participating in a moment of fulfillment and perhaps, dare we say, pleasure, a scent of life in a coming death, in that moment her body was a living temple anointing, with perfume, the holy one, the humble king, the God of all who would suffer himself.  But in this moment it was the creator experiencing prophetic pleasure as part of the creation.   

For it was He who created the capacity to express sorrow and joy through tears, like those flowing from her eyes wetting his feet that day.  What does it feel like to have warm saline droplets of water poured out onto one’s feet after walking all day?  It is like being rinsed in a great summer rainstorm.  The water pouring down soaking every pore of the skin, wrinkling even toes.  All other senses are paused while his feet feel it all, her tears mixed with the perfume spreading through the dusted hairs on his calloused feet having walked to Bethany that day.

And hair, what function has hair but pure sensorial pleasure--seeing it shine and flow, allowing it to run through your fingers and brushing it close to your face to smell its fragrance--see, smell, touch.  Perhaps also to keep warm but consider the woman’s hair that day, soft and delicate strands through which a multitude of men had run their hands.  Her hair, wet with salted tears and the scents of the broken perfume vase, dancing across the feet of God every so cautiously and yet with desperation the hair spreading apart and then back together again, her head moving violently to cover his feet with her hair and to wash and wet, bonded by the substance of perfume mixed with tears and dirt. In that moment did he remember his creative act, when he delicately crafted the first woman’s hair, like silk. How he had longed to touch it and know his creation more closely and now her hair, beautiful hair touching his worn feet scorched by the Judean sun was at once bringing goodness and pleasure to a looming sorrow.

She knew sorrow and understood that her perfume, tears and hair were not enough.  How to get closer, how to share more intimately, how to convey with her body though broken as it was. Lips, yes her lips, she knew how to convey, made to love one, though grazing the mouths and bodies of many men. Her lips, soft, worn, now kissing heavy laden feet. His feet now receiving these lips of love in places where soon he would receive piercing of blood.  

God knows the goodness of the lips he created, the ability to receive and give unspoken expressions of love and at times betrayal. Now he was experiencing them in carnated form, the goodness of the creation, this small sensitive part of the body which contains so much power, so much expression, so much goodness.  Fragile portions of shortened fat covered in mucous membrane, shapes meeting together to give and receive others. 

Jesus must have felt her lips on His feet and known his creation was indeed good.  Hers were the purest of kisses she had ever given, her body expressing a new love but not like other men, for she had given herself to many men but never like this before.  Now she had given her body for the first time in full, for good undone, her entirety, created, now vulnerable before her Maker at his feet.  Though by the religious she was named a whore, her body was made pure through her identification with Him, the one who had made her body for good.  She was completed and forgiven and given new worth and he was in the same instance experiencing a moment pleasure before his cross. Pleasure before his pain, joy before his suffering. He was anointed by a holy temple that day and received from his creation grace.

And how many times did he experience this level of pleasure as he walked the earth?  Drinking good wine, tasting rich food, dipping himself in the Jordan River, hearing the sweet sounds of hymns being sung with his friends, laughing at the parties he attended, seeing the lame walk, the dead raised, telling stories of riddle and imbued with mystery, the hurting healed, the broken mended. What pleasure and goodness did he feel, what foretaste of goodness did he offer? What places did he play? These things were good, these things are good, we were made good, so very good.

In our exploration of the mystery of the incarnation we are met with this wonder, that God would craft us as good things not bad, and that he would enter into space and time in the goodness of the creation he himself created.  So through life, as we read the story God has written may we remember not to begin reading at the third chapter, may we take our seats before the preview begins, may we sit down to eat before the entrĂ©e is served, may we offer love knowing that we were crafted to experience pleasure, to live life full created good in the image of Him. 


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