Embodying an Incarnational Advent

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This excerpt from Advent: Allowing Christ to Rest in Us by the Carmelite Sisters was a part of our morning liturgy today. Consider the embodiment of Christ in Mary and in you as you meditate on this piece:

The one thing that God did ask of Mary was the gift of her humanity. God asked her to give him her body and soul unconditionally and to give him her daily life. Outwardly her life would not differ from the life she would have led if she had not been chosen to be the Bride of the Spirit and the Mother of God.

During Advent Christ rested in Mary – still, silent, helpless, and utterly dependent. In Jesus, the Creator trusted himself to his very own creature. He trusted to her what was most important to him –  the expression of his love for the Father. He was mute: her voice was his voice. He was still: her footsteps were his journeys. He was blind: her eyes were his seeing. His hands were folded: her hands did the work of his hands. His life was her life. His heartbeat was the beating of her heart. 

This is how Christ came in history. It is the same today as he comes to each one of us. For as surely as he rested in Mary, so he rests in you and in me. From the moment when the Christ-life is conceived in us, our life is intended for one thing – the expression of his love – his love for God and for the world. 

Our words are to be the words that he wants to speak. We must go wherever he wants to go. And we must look at whatever he wants to see. Our life must be the living of his life, our love the very loving of his heart.  

And the Word became flesh and blood and made his home with us.

The Virgin Is The Holy House Who Bore The Jesus In Her Womb And Is Forever To Be Honored is a painting by artist Elizabeth Wang. It is available for purchase at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-virgin-is-the-holy-house-who-bore-the-jesus-in-her-womb-and-is-forever-to-be-honored-elizabeth-wang.html

How does Christ live, move, see and love through you?

Merry CHRISTmas, Jody

(C) 2022, Jody Thomae

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Jody Thomae has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997 and has authored several Bible studies designed to nurture the creative spirit within. She performs, teaches and leads workshops and retreats connecting creativity, embodiment and spirituality. As an ordained minister, her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and formational ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. She is particularly interested in the way in which God uses the arts to bring formational development and healing to His people. Her books can be found on Amazon.

Join her at a retreat in 2023!!

EMBODIED: Resources Galore!

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Sharing a whole list of articles written about embodied spirituality for you to explore! Check out these amazing resources…

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EMBODIED: Flowing Grace

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I love this short and sweet video called Flowing Grace from Paul Denniston of Grief Yoga. Whether your holiday season is busy and chaotic or filled with the pain of loss and grief, take a moment to flow in grace…

Click here for a longer chair practice that combines movement, breath and sound to connect to love, peace and grace. It is a quiet, simple practice that focuses on letting go of the negative in order to be filled with peace and contentment. If you are struggling this holiday season, I recommend exploring more of Paul’s resources on his website or on Facebook. Continue reading

EMBODIED: Abide Christian Meditation

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I’ve recently discovered the Abide app. You can listen to daily scripture meditations, as well as meditations geared towards anxiety, anger, addiction, depression, fear and grief. There are meditations on blessing and forgiveness and even ones to help you drift off to sleep. Moreover, many of these Bible-based meditations are very embodied in nature, encouraging body-oriented relaxation and simple breath prayers like….

Exhale chaos
Inhale peace

Exhale anger
Inhale love Continue reading

EMBODIED: Walking a Labyrinth

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Sending you to two different articles on the embodied practice of walking a prayer labyrinth. The first is at Guideposts and includes four different ideas of ways to pray through the labyrinth. You can find that article here. The second is at Patheos and includes a short history on labyrinths, as well. Find the Patheos article by clicking here. Finally here’s a world-wide labyrinth locator to help find one near you. Continue reading

EMBODIED: Resting in the Midst

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We all need times of rest and replenishment in order to live whole-hearted and fully-embodied lives. However, in our crazy, hectic, fast-paced society, it is really difficult to make time or space for rest. Even when we are utterly exhausted we keep pushing: one more task… one more errand… one more project… one more phone call… one more appointment… one more   fill in the blank  . Our bodies cry out to stop, to slow down, to breathe, and yet, we keep right on pushing through.  And, worse, if something goes wrong (which *news flash* it’s bound to), it’s even more difficult to rest, because we are driven to fix things, to solve problems and to make them go away.  Continue reading

EMBODIED: Beautiful Prayer for Healing

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Join Morgan Day Cecil for a short embodied prayer inspired by Fr. Thomas Ryan, recorded at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia. The choir singing in the background is so BEaUtiful!

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EMBODIED: Christ-Centered Breath Work

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This edition of EMBODIED is a Christ-centered, breath-oriented, mindfulness practice. Although it was created specifically for those who have experienced trauma, you do NOT have to have experienced trauma to benefit from this quiet, Bible-based meditation. Truth is, we all have wounding, hurtful moments in our life, and we can all benefit from allowing God’s breath to breathe healing into every part of our being.

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EMBODIED: Christian Meditative Prayer Beads

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Mala prayer beads are very popular these days, not only among those who do yoga, but as a fashion trend. After I purchased my first mala, I began to research prayer beads and ropes from other religious traditions and eventually tore my mala apart to reconstruct it with Christian symbolism instead. Prayer beads or ropes are used across many spiritual traditions to help one pray. Traditional malas are used by Hindus and contain 108 beads. Rosaries are used within the Catholic tradition and contain 50 beads. Chotki are used within the Orthodox Christian tradition and contain 33, 50, 100, 150 or more prayer beads (or often knots instead of beads).

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Selah prayer beads are my own original, Christ-centered design for contemplative prayer beads. The word Selah is taken from the Book of Psalms. Hebrew scholars believe it is a musical term indicating a place of pause, reflection or a place to take a breath. Selah prayer necklaces are constructed with 100 beads, 10 of which are called Selah beads. These beads are meant to serve as stopping points, places for you to pause and reflect as you pray your way around the circular design of the necklace.

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EMBODIED: “Embodied Prayer”

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If you are a Christian on a journey of embodiment or discovering what embodiment might mean for you, there’s a book I would consider a must-read. The book is Embodied Prayer: Towards Wholeness of Body, Mind, Soul by Celeste Snowber, PhD, and like a text book, I’d call this one required reading! I found this book many years ago and have read it several times. While Dr. Snowber is an academic and educator, she is also a dancer, and it is the dancer who leads the way in this beautiful work on embodiment and prayer. Continue reading

EMBODIED: Praying with Play-Dough

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Hello Fellow Worshipers! Found this recipe for play-dough with essential oils at One Essential Community and thought I would share it with you. You can find full instructions with photos and essential oil blend ideas.

Playdough is a wonderful way to use the embodied sense of touch during prayer and meditation time. Add essential oils and we include the sense of smell. You can add the following scriptures to embody your prayer, meditation and Bible study time: Continue reading

EMBODIED: Worship Dance TV

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Introducing Vibeke Kiiskila, founder of Unity Dance Center and host of Worship Dance TV. I had the wonderful pleasure of spending some time talking with her about my journey in worship dance, embodied prayer and creative ministry. You can listen into our conversation here:

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EMBODIED: Go into nature…

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Go into nature…

…and let it teach you.

Come forth into the light of things, let Nature be your teacher. 
William Wordsworth

Believe one who knows: you will find something greater in woods than in books.  Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
Saint Bernard de Clairvaux

Whenever I have found myself stuck in the ways I relate to things, I return to nature. It is my principal teacher, and I try to open my whole being to what it has to say. 
Wynn Bullock

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Kintsugi of the Soul, edition 39

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The school year is over which means this is our final Kintsugi of the Soul*. I hope you’ve enjoyed our stories of healing, redemption and hope. Our final story is that of Kevin Hines, the man who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge and lived.

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Kintsugi of the Soul, edition 38

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Our Kintsugi of the Soul* project is wrapping up next week. This week I want to share the story of a woman reunited with her dogs following the terrible wildfire in Paradise. I love this beautiful story of restoration!

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Kintsugi of the Soul, edition 37

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Today’s Kintsugi of the Soul* features a trUly BEaUtiful story of generosity and goodness. Cobey Thomas is a “gentle giant” with non-verbal autism that LOVES to swing. At 6’10” he has outgrown traditional swing sets, but Mr. Handyman from Knoxville, Tennessee stepped in and saved the day! You’ll have to watch and read the subtitles for the best news of all!!

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Kintsugi of the Soul, edition 36

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Today’s Kintsugi of the Soul* features Elizabeth Smart’s story of overcoming trauma. Kidnapped at 14-years-old, she nows speaks out on behalf of victims and shares her story of how forgiveness helps you rise above your tragedy and sorrow.

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Kintsugi of the Soul, edition 35

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Today’s Kintsugi of the Soul* features a story making the rounds on Facebook about Mr. Rogers. I cannot locate the original author or citation, but this is the story below.

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I don’t mean to dishonor the other stories here. But there is one I wanted to add.

A good portion of my pro-bono work is defending abused children. It’s a cause close to my heart. In the course of my work I met a man who was an adult survivor. You wouldn’t have known it looking at him. He was this gigantic Polynesian guy. Wild curly hair. I think of him every time I see Khal Drogo on GoT. He was counseling some of the little kids, and doing a fantastic job of it.

I visited his home to get his opinion on something and I noticed a little toy on his desk. It was Trolley. Naturally curious, I asked him about it. This is what he told me:

“The most dangerous time for me was in the afternoon when my mother got tired and irritable. Like clockwork. Now, she liked to beat me in discreet places so my father wouldn’t see the bruises. That particular day she went for the legs. Not uncommon for her. I was knocked down and couldn’t get back up. Also not uncommon. She gave me one last kick, the one I had come to learn meant ‘I’m done now’. Then she left me there upstairs, face in the carpet, alone. I tried to get up, but couldn’t. So I dragged myself, arm over arm, to the television, climbed up the TV cabinet and turned on the TV.

“And there was Mr. Rogers. It was the end of the show and he was having a quiet, calm conversation with those hundreds of kids. In that moment, he seemed to look me in the eye when he said ‘And I like you just for being you’. In that moment, it was like he was reaching across time and space to say these words to me when I needed them most.

“It was like the hand of God, if you’re into that kind of thing. It hit me in the soul. I was a miserable little kid. I was sure I was a horrible person. I was sure I deserved every last moment of abuse, every blow, every bad name. I was sure I earned it, sure I didn’t deserve better. I *knew* all of these things … until that moment. If this man, who I hadn’t even met, liked me just for being me, then I couldn’t be all bad. Then maybe someone could love me, even if it wasn’t my mom.

“It gave me hope. If that nice man liked me, then I wasn’t a monster. I was worth fighting for. From that day on, his words were like a secret fortress in my heart. No matter how broken I was, no matter how much it hurt or what was done to me, I could remember his words, get back on my feet, and go on for another day.

“That’s why I keep Trolley there. To remind me that, no matter how terrible things look, someone who had never met me liked me just for being me, and that makes even the worst day worth it to me. I know how stupid it sounds, but Mr. Rogers saved my life.”

The next time I saw him, he was talking to one of my little clients. When they were done with their session, he helped her out of her chair, took both of her hands, looked her in the eyes and said: “And remember, I like you just for being you.”

That, to me, is Mr. Rogers’ most powerful legacy. All of the little lives he changed and made better with simple and sincere words of love and kindness.

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Kintsugi of the Soul, edition 34

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For today’s Kintsugi of the Soul* I’m am sending you over to UpliftTV once again to watch a short 10-minute film called Rosa: These Storms. It is the story of a determined, young Mayan woman, who turned her greatest heartbreak into the impetus that drove her dream. You do have to register with UpliftTV to view this short film, but it is free (they will occasionally send you emails about future inspiring films).

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We as people, might be like the birds… they undergo storms… winds… and they never give up. We should not be afraid of these storms.
Instead…
we ought to have wings…
and fly.
~Rosa

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Kintsugi of the Soul, edition 33

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Today’s Kintsugi of the Soul* might require a tissue or two. Folks, this is what restoration  and redemption look like when a whole community joins in…

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